Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A day in the Hazaribagh Countryside- Jarwadih a Santal Village 40km east of Hazaribagh

Throughout the thousands of square kilometers of forests encircling the Hazaribagh town one will find rice fields such as the one shown above. These rice-fields are the feed granaries of the jungle-fowl and the wild animals of the forest. Hazaribagh probably has the best rice fields found in the the forests of eastern India. The low lying land being called the dong and the up land tanr.

This view would have made a painting by the Daniels in the School of landscapes during the 19th Cent.

This is my favourite hillock near the Jarwadih village.

This is an impromptu photograph on arriving a Santal homestead.

Standing beside the corral in which the cattle are kept. It is worth noting that the Santal cattle are mainly bulls used for ploughing and a few cows for milk. The cattle are the south-east Asian variety with a small hump and a shotter back used throughout eastern India and Southeast Asia in ploughing the smaller rice fields of the hilly forest areas of the region which go up in the Nepal and Northeast hills.

Santal women standing on her doorway which is decorated with colour spots made of lime, manganese, ochre. The Manjhi Santal women of eastern Hazaribagh are known to decorate their doorways in this special way. The walls are made of thick layers of mud and the tiles on the roofs are made by hand. All materials of the house are found within a radius of half a mile and fulfill Gandhi-ji's requirements for making an indigenous house.

A typical view in a Santal countryside in the heart of the jungles of Hazaribagh.

A typical Santal dwelling with decorations for the coming Diwali season.

A decorated doorway with red coloured wainscotting of red ochre with floral edges.

Walls decorated with red ochre in a Manji Santal village

Manjhi Santal women making brooms from bamboo in the village of Jarwadih

A typical courtyard with wall decorations and Saal poles used for the corral for the cattle

Another typical view of a forest village

This shows how the bamboo broom is laid out while it is being made. When it is rolled up, it becomes a familiar object used for sweeping mudden floors clean.

A manjhi Santal women with children in the decorated courtyard of her house which is a glimpse of the woman's world in the forest village of Hazaribagh

Bulu Imam with some old friends in the Jarwadih village

The entrance to a Santal house with a long drive

... and in the courtyard

This goat seems to be doing puja at the Manjhisthaan or wodden post dedicated to the ancestors in the courtyard of a manjhi Santal house

A decorated doorway

Add caption

Elizabeth and Bulu with an old Santal friend in his father Sanjhlu Hansda's house

Note the careful laying of the handmade tiles in the roof.

Both these dogs (Santal Hound) were given back as pups to the village by Bulu Imam and the village is known for this special breed which can also be found by searching the internet.

A Manjhi woman making brooms from bamboo.

A typical view of the countryside

Rice-fields by evening light

An old temple

Tower Hill

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Bulu Imam's Hazaribagh

This photograph was taken some eight years ago in the afternoon returning from Bodhgaya and the picture was taken from the Bridge at Dhanua-Bhalwa over the Mohania river. I did not then know that my daughter would one day marry and live in the beautiful estate on this river to the right hand side and not in the picture. It is about midway between Chauparan and Dobhi and this photo was taken before the present four-lane highway was made.
This is the great Konya range at Bhalwa on Mohaniya river flowing from Itkhouri to Bodhgaya down which Gautama Buddha walked from Tammasin to where the Liraljan,Mohani and Phalgu meet at the sacred place of his great Enlightenment at Bodhgaya.

A Sakhua tree in spring floral foliage like an old lady in full golden plumage of Banarsi silk. This tree is Sarjom to the Oraon, Saal to the Santal, and Sakhua to the Munda. It is the Queen tree of the central Indian forests east of the teak forests of central India.It is the source of medicine and folklore that is endless. Millions of hectares of saal jungles have been destroyed by mega development projects for big dams (Narmada etc.) ,coal mines (damodar valley), and industrialization across central India.

Young Saal trees in Spring foliage in the time of the spring festival of Sarhul when according to Oraon belief in late April  the marriage of the Sun and Earth takes place...

People who endorse the mass cutting of such trees for coopicing forests such as the British did had their eyes on the money for coppicing succeeds with this tree, but those who cut it simply because they are widening highways or making mines deserve to be shot.

These saal trees are in the left side of the road before Tatijharia on way to Bagoder on S.H.33
The Agaria tribals are descendants of the earliest iron workers, those who quarried the iron-stone and carried it to the furnace where it was wrought and smelted and produced in useful artiefacts. Their history goes back three thousand years and is closelly allied with the Asur iron workers. To me they are the forerunners of the Celtic tribal movements in Europe and England. We must not forget the world was smaller before without national boundaries and need for visas and passports and all that nonsense. Man was man and this was his world. We have in Tagore';s ringing words "divided this world into narrow domestic walls".

Well, for one thing, they get all their minerals on their doorstep, even now. The black comes from manganese in the fields near the jungles, and the red Lal-mitti is found in the same vicinity. The white may be a little problematic since lime is never used, what is called Chuna, and the natural Kaolin deposits are in the jungle; the best white Carks-mitti, comes from ochre collection sites in the deep forests in caves, the remains of pleistocene deposits and one such Chunatari will be destroyed right in the centre of what will shortly become the Keridari mine block of Reliance for their TPS in Tilaya; having said that briefly I may remind readers that the black is not coal based as some think, not even in mining areas. The houses are plastered with ordinary nagri or pila-mati easily available in the family fields.I'm presently reading Lieutenant Charles Low's record of Captain Cooke's voyages to where you now live, and herecounts running into men who covered their faces and bodies with red ochre and that practice of the Australian Aboriginal does not take place here but red ochre never-the-less has a pre-eminent place in Indian spirituality and it was when the Sacred took dominance about the time of the Vedas before the iron age that Vermilion took its importance which is absolutely non Aboriginal if I might say not a mineral but mercuric sulphite or chinese cinnibar which although held sacred for indian womanhood in the parting of the hair of a married woman does not have an aboriginal or adivasi significance... having said that, however, in the recent sohrai paintings the scheduled caste women do spot/daub with vermilion but it is a newfangled thing.

The sacred Bajha Sarna where hundreds of trees and hundreds of ancient stone megaliths upto twelve feet in length, are found, some growing out of the trunks of several hundred year old trees like banyan and peepul. See "Bajha" in my book ANTIQUARIAN REMAINS OF JHARKHAND

Sunset on sarguja and serso fields anywhere on the Hazaribagh plateau...

This is Hazaribagh. Cattle have always been celebrated by agricultural societies. The village cows and bulls and buffaloes receive more care and love than people anywhere in the world because they are a part of village life, the agricultural calendar, and a great lactate civilization which pre-dates Europe by several millenia.This photo will likely be in the Barkagaon valley and the gnarled trunk is of a Mohwa tree from its leaves...

children with their family's goats is a common sight in the Hazaribagh jungles where they take the animals to graze on the lkeaves...

I don't know the precise location (Justin very likely took this snap) but the stones at the foot of this great tree are Megaliths undoubtedly. Readers of my new book ANTIQUARIAN REMAINS OF JHARKHAND will be happy to see the note on the Bajha Sarna north of the National Park between Katkumsandi and Dato Khurd because it is a sacred grove (Sarna) with hundreds of ancient trees and hundreds of giant Megaliths...

this is on the left bank of the Siwani river below the Siwani bridge 6 km before Tatijharia.

Inside you would find warmth in winter, shelter from rain, some cool from summer heat, a flt sleeping floor with a round fireplace in the middle, hunting nets and snares, baskets of forest produce and medicinal roots, a few carrying poles and an axe of very small size... it is prehistory in the present...

I took this photo at 6 am in the morning while driving across the upper Damodar between McCluskieganj and Balumath. About 45 kilometres from its source in Latehar the river is as pristine as seen in the photo. Twenty kilometres later the river plunges into the black filth of the North Karanpura Coalfields Project's opencast coal mines.

this photo is at the northeastern corner of the Hazaribagh lakes facing the setting sun.The Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner residences will be behind the trees at extreme left side.

Standing by my well in Dipugarha on a stormy monsoon evening some years ago I saw this extraordianary after sunset monsoon evening scene and immediately got my camera and clicked it. It is probably the best sky scape I have ever photographed...
islands in the sky
great expression "Islands in the Sky". Now wasn't that what Michelangelo saw at Carrara that frosty morning before he got the inspiration to paint "God created Adam" in the Sistine ceiling ?

This is a young silk cotton tree or Simul with its beautiful red flowers in full bloom in the Hazaribagh countryside.

On the way from Hazaribagh to Katkumsandi when one crosses the Forest Rest House on the hill opposit (north side, on right) there are bamboo jungles and salai trees. I photographed these bamboos when they were dying in their last flowering. In the rainy season the seeds will re-germinate.
I read somewhere that when the bamboo forests of the Chin hills in the Northeast die the rats from Myanmar come in droves to eat the seeds. Has anyone heard of this ?

This is the stone-cut door-way to enter the ancient Marwa-Dwar temple which is a large underground labyrinth about a kilometre and half from the Isco cave paintings. Near it is the famous Marwateri Cave. These are extensively documented in my book ANTIQUARIAN REMAINS OF JHARKHAND under "Isco".

The beautiful Jorakath lake ten kilometres south-west of Charhi and about 6 km from the new Charhi railway stationI have often compared this lake with its flowering lotuses and flights of white herons to Valmiki's descriptions of the wild natural beauties in Lord Ram's forest journey in the Araniyakandam of the Ramayana.

this is the Konar river just below where the Siwanee meets it. To reach here drive down the Bagoder road about 25 kilometres to Kenduatoli village (5 km after Tatijharia) and turn of the highway to the village, then drive on a kuchha road about three kilometres and walk the last two kilometres through Saal jungle to this most beautiful stretch of the river which is about 35km upstream of the Konar Dam. These are Hazaribagh's most precious offerings...
To reach this stretch of the Konar just after its confluence with the Siwanee drive five kilometres from Tatijharia, turn right and walk three miles south through the forest.

this is the lake (one of two) in the new park made in the old government farm after Demotand on the road to Ranchi.

this is in the cafeteria opposite the Hazaribagh lakes.

A most beautiful photograph of a typical Munda or Oraon mud house in the countryside somewhere in the Hazaribagh district

this is the Heliograph tower on Tower Hill on way to Meru from Hazaribagh.

Our beloved Canary Hill in Hazaribagh.

This is the Sitagarha Hill also known as Juljul hill by the locals. Its is a natural recumbent figure here in perfect profile seen from the north. One knan see the knees, stomach and head of a recumbent goddess figure also known to native American Indians as an RLF or Recumbent Landscape Figure. The hill is an object of worship for the nomadic Birhors of the region on the south side of the hill not seen in the photo is a 50 foot high stone slab with a face form worshipped as Shiva by the local people and on the top of the stone slab during the Budh Purnima in the middle of May an offering of curds and rice is made by the local people to celebrate Buddha Jayanti. To the east of the Hill is a Buddhist site where Gupta period statuary have been found. The central portion of the hill seen in this photograph (belly) is the object of bombing and mortar firing by the Border Security Forces in Hazaribagh and despite 30 years of protest by INTACH to the highest authorities continues to this date. At the extreme right end on the top of the promontory  there is a stone tank called Rani Pokhar. The hill is about 10 kms to the east of Hazaribagh town and well connected by road.

The road alongside the Chapri lake. If you go straight it will lead you eventually to Badam, if you take the turn on the left you will go through the remains of an old walled fort and in a few kilometres reach Chapri (which is one of Hazaribagh's important palaeolithic stone tool sites), crossing the source of the Dudhi Nala you will reacxh the village of Saheda where the very famous Ganju Sohrai artist Putli Ganju lives when not in Sanskriti.

This view tower was built in the 1950s by the late conservator of forests, the legendary S.P.Shahi who was my first mentor in natural history photography.

This avenue of banyan trees is just after Meru on way to Bagodar. If the highway is four-laned (as planned) this avenue and all the other trees for the next forty kilometers will be cut down. Whither India ??

This lake of white lotuses is near Canary hill and I will not tell where...

the flowers in this photograph are the water-hyacinth

These silk cotton or Simul flowers are set against the background of the proposed Magadh opencast coal mines northern Satpahar ranges, western North Karanpura valley. They are a prophetic statement of doom.

I photographed this beautiful Laburnum tree (Bandarlauri/Tirki) tree while walking down from the village of Saheda on the Hazaribagh plateau to the Isco rock art site in the Barkagaon valley.

This avenue of trees is on the highway (S.H.33) from Hazaribagh to Bagodar, and will be cut down when the proposed four-laning of the highway is done. I have given up fighting about this, Anyone who has followed my work on protecting highway trees from the golden quadrilateral project will know that after reaching Dr Manmohan Singh and the Chairman of the National Highways Project I failed. I wrote extensively on it and a short search on google will yield many of my writings. I am now given up to Fate in a completely heartless world in which some people cut off other people's heads and some cut off the heads of the roots of giant trees.

This photograph of winter crops was I think taken along the northern escarpment of the Hazaribagh plateau facing the Barhi plain, that is about six kilometres south-west of Tatijharia where the plateau falls away steeply in forested ranges to the Barhi plain near Atka.

Sarguja fields and bamboo blowing in the winter breeze on the Hazaribagh plateau.

The Siwani river bridge. I fear for this precious heritage monument when I hear talks of four-laning the road from Hazaribagh to Barhi.Who can explain these things to baboos ?

The Siwanee river below the bridge six kilometres before Tatijharia. In about two kilometres from here the Siwanee will join the Konar river.

This could be a trout stream in Alaska. No, its the winter waters of the Siwanee river in Hazaribagh.

This is a full view of the beautiful Jorakath lake in the Sati hill range southwest of Charhi. I hestitate to name such places for fear that the gods of evil development will seek them out and destroy them. When I wrote my book ANTIQUARIAN REMAINS OF JHARKHAND it was only to leave my hands with a sense of guilt that I had told an unforgiving, cruel, mercantile world where the most precious places I knew were, in the knowledge that they would seek them out and destroy them.

The lovely Jorakath lake about ten kilometres south-west of Charhi in the Sati hill range.

the MOST BEAUTIFUL lake in all of Hazaribagh. In the evening when the peafowl call and a flight of white egrets streams across the lake and an elephant trumpets in the closing darkness, then one is transported back into Valmik's aranyakandam in Ramayana...

this is another view of the Jorakath lake

Mustard fields in Mandair village with the Satpahar hill range having nine rockart sites in the background. The entire are is subject to opencast coal mining by the North Karanpura Coalfields Project, and big dams, and how much longer such views will be available is left to be seen...

A monsoon creek below a Kurmi village in the Hazaribagh countryside.

Well over twenty years ago I took this photo in the gentle North Karanpura (Barkagaon) valley called rightly the "rice bowl of Hazaribagh). Now this entire region faces the curse of opencast coal mining. The Mahudi range is in the background. The location would be somewhere between Barkagaon and Keridari...

The rock sheet one has to climb up to reach the Isco rock-art shelter, to my mind one of the most beautiful landscapes in all Hazaribagh...

The little Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church of Singhani photographed by a very clever and attentive cameraman (Justin?)!

Mustard fields somewhere on the Hazaribagh plateau... it seems there is a defile beyond the horizon so it may be along the edge of the plateau at some point.I am so in love with Hazaribagh that I would be happy to be buried in any of its fields and prize it as an honour higher than Westminster Abbey!!
These are Serso or mustard in foreground and the lemon coloured fields are Sarguja.

MY Canary hills, and my wife Elizabeth's lands before they were pilfered by missions

The Canary Hill is a landmark of the Hazaribagh town.

This is the edge of the Chatrupalu ghats before Baghchata and it goes toward Tatisilwai on the Ranchi nplateau, and I hunted a rogue elephant at a place called Angara about five miles to the right of the furthest tip in the picture. In 1973 I hunted down the four notrorious man-killing elephants of Ramgarh in these hill ranges. In the extreme right-hand side is a small waterfall I named for my daughter Cherry "JACINTA FALLS" and in the monsoon it still falls briskly down a sheet of shining silver rock three hundred feet to the valley below. Going up the ghat from Ramgarh it is just after the Ramgarh-Ranchi district border. It is one of my love affairs with Hazaribagh...

On a clear afternoon after a heavy shower of rain which has somewhat cleaned the atmosphere of India's most polluted Damodar Valley, the Ruhr of India, this picture is taken from the Chhatupalu Ghat looking east toward Bokaro.

Rajderwa Forest Rest House in Hazaribagh National park conceived and built by legendary Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Shri S.P.Shahi. It is still there in sylvan serenity for anyone taking the six mile drive from the Hazaribagh National Park gate on N.H.33 Hazaribagh-Barhi road.

Village women returning in evening after rice transplanting in the fields all day.

The Palash or Flame of the Forest in full flower in the month of April with the Sakhua or Saal trees in full blossom.

A woman transplanting rice seedlings, a common sight in the early monsoon months and the only surprising thing is that she is pictured alone but that may have been the photographer's perspective , since the "ropa" or rice transplanting is done be rows of several women because literally millions of little seedlings must be planted to fill the bread-basket back home.

The Tilaya dam which submerged dozens of tribal villages and hundreds of kilomtres of saal forests under a basin of water which is good enough only for fishery or water for a super thermal power statiuon such as Reliance is making but unequal to DVC's original plans of hydroelectricity inspired by the Fifties ideas of the Nehru-Krushev Vision for modern India...

ditto, Tilaya Dam, in sytate of sedimentation...

Boys bathing on a monsoon streamlet with a kind of fish-trap. These are flooded tice fields somewhere in Hazaribagh...

These men are carrying the frames of string cots (Khatia) to the local market.

The Padma or red lotus, symbol of India, with honey bee.

This is my late son Jason's mudden underground "bunker" room in the early morning winter mist at my home Sanskriti in Dipugarha...

In this view of the local Tower Hill at Silwar about 10kms east of Hazaribagh if one looks carefully one will find at the top middle a brick Heliograph tower used by the British uptil the time of the Mutiny of 1857 and on the right hand side a small protrusion at the top which is the upper part of a stone tortoise carved during the megalithic period.

this beautiful tree is a Jacaranda which flowers during the months of March-April

This photo is from Laranga on the right bank of the Garhi river about ten kilometres downstream from Tandwa where a mega-dam is vbeing built submerging several villages. At Laranga we have found the rarest site of industrial microliths produced 5000 years ago...

Seen from the Nautangwa Pahar rock-art site (See ANTIQUARIAN REMAINS OF JHARKHAND "Nautangwa pahar") is the forest that Reliance is going to turn into a huge opencast coal mine to supply its giant thermal power plant project at Tilaya. In the right of centre is a natural white earth (charki matti) ochre collecting site of the village women from where they get the white earth for coating their houses after the monsoon which are decorated with the famous Khovar and Sohrai paintings. All this will be a memory in a few rivers. The Salga river flowing below this view-point flows into the Garhi river on which a dam is being built for the Tandwa Super Thermal Power project in which dozens of villages have been displaced. Whither India ?

The Satpahar range in the background has no less than nine pre-historic rock-art sites. The mud house in the foreground standing amidst mustard fields is a symbol of the last ouposts against the massive coal mining operations in the area being carried out under the North Karanpura Coalfields Project which will reduce the Barkagaon valley to black rubble...

A magnificent Sakhua or Saal tree in full flowering during the Sarhiul or spring festival in late April.

These rock formations are on the Garhi river near Tandwa in Chatra district.

Sunset on the Mahudi ranges.

These wooden posts are Gawaths erected in memory of ancestors by villagers.In background is a quaint looking Mohwa tree.

This unusual formation of two trees joining over the road is on the Padma-Itkhori highway not far from Manjurhand.


If you miss Hazaribagh because of PHOTOS it makes me feel that at last I have accomplished some thing of significance in my life of seventy-two years!Q!