Niyamgiri – A Serendipity

Niyamgiri is the abode of the Dongria Kondh tribe, an endemic and unique tribal group whose population is less than 10,000.

Dongria Kondh in Niyamgiri

The sound was unmistakable, though unfamiliar. Was it a dream! Who could be singing at this unearthly hour? Dawn was yet to break and the inky blackness of the night enveloped the hillside. With bleary eyes, I pressed the light button of my watch. It was 3.30AM, too early for us to get up.

The high pitched voices of the Dongria Kondh tribal girls singing in chorus wafted through the crisp night air. It was apparent that several groups of feisty maidens were doing a singing match with peals of laughter! The local Kondh guide explained to us the Kui words. “Why are these people running after snakes or frogs? Will these town people save us from the Company?” The Dongria Kondh maidens are fond of singing and the community spends a lot of time in singing and dancing!