Preserving heritage, Adivasi tribes uphold centuries-old traditions in Telangana's erstwhile Adilabad

The temple is revered by the tribals, and it attracts a multitude of devotees during Diwali.
Adivasi tribes mark the beginning of the Ghusadi and Dhandari festivities on Sunday.
Adivasi tribes mark the beginning of the Ghusadi and Dhandari festivities on Sunday.

ADILABAD: The tribes of the erstwhile Adilabad district maintain their unique culture, traditions, customs, and way of life while residing in forests, hilly regions, and more. The district captivates with its natural beauty, and the tribes are equally committed to preserving their customs for future generations.

They embark on extensive journeys by foot to offer prayers to their goddesses and perform traditional pujas for every festival. One of the most significant celebrations is Ghussadi and Dhandari, commencing before Diwali and concluding afterward. During these 15 days, groups visit every village and organsie programmes and offer prayers.

Despite evolving with the times, they are progressing toward a more civilised society while safeguarding their culture and traditions. The tribes’ culture is reflected in the attire they wear, their costumes, and their dances.

The adivasis of the former Adilabad district continue to maintain their distinct customs and lifestyle amidst the forests, hills, caves, and more. They traverse long distances on foot to offer prayers to their idols, adhering to traditional practices.

They observe various occasions with deep devotion. During Diwali, they worship Padmalpuri Kako at the Padmal Puri Kako Temple, located near the Godavari river in the Dandepalli mandal of Mancherial district. The temple is revered by the tribals, and it attracts a multitude of devotees during Diwali.

For 15 days, numerous adivasis visit the Padmal Puri Kako temple. This temple, devoted to the adivasi deity, is unique in South India and draws visitors not only from the former Adilabad district but also from the two Telugu states. Dandari groups from tribal areas in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra come here to perform special pujas in accordance with their culture and tradition.

Oil is created by distillation using sesame seeds and Ippa seeds in a pan, extracted by turning it with a long stick. This extracted oil is used for making lamp offerings to their deities and various offerings. Adivasi tribals not only worship their deities but also prepare special dishes for these offerings, showcasing diversity, including sweet rice and various types of dishes, all prepared and offered traditionally.

All the preparation is carried out using traditional methods, emphasising the preservation of cultural traditions. An Adivasi leader, Kova Daulath Rao, highlights the importance of preserving these traditions.

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