Bob Nelson Photography
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Odisha

In late 2014 I travelled to the Indian state of Odisha with a good friend where we met a guide and a driver. We spent just over 3 weeks there, starting in Bhoramdeo and finishing in Kolkata.

Among other things, Odisha is known for it’s rich culture and large number of ancient temples.
I chose to go to Odisha due to the fact that there are 62 tribal groups, including 13 primitive tribal groups. Most of these groups are pastoral and the total population of tribal groups is about 22% population of the State of Odisha which has a total population of almost 45 million.

The largest tribal group is the Kutia Kondh tribe from the Kand Hamal district. Other important tribes we visited were the Dongria and the Bondo.
In terms of their beliefs, many of the tribes combine Hindu Gods with that of their own Gods.

Our travel was tightly restricted in the tribal areas and in some cases we were not allowed to take tribal photographs. Some of the tribal people have tattoos which have been traditionally worn for centuries. When these tattoos were applied, their ears were sometimes pierced at the same time. The pain from having a tattoo could last up 10 days and is one reason tattooing is no longer commonly done. On the other hand, ear piercing is now common. The ear rim can be pierced as many as 15 times to hold a collection of small silver earrings. The graphical lines in facial tattoos can represent the stars, moon, sun or mythical figures and can also be used to identify tribe or status.

In this book I have shown several images of the Classical Dance form known as ‘Odisssi’. This is the oldest surviving dance in India with an unbroken tradition of 2000 years.

Each of the thumbnails in the back of this book has a very brief description. By using your imagination, I hope you might discover an interesting interpretation and story for the images that catch your eye.

I hope that after you have a chance to look at my book, you will be tempted to visit this less travelled but very interesting State of India.

Kind regards,
Bob

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