We know India is diverse, but this story is one for the history books. In the Gir forest in Gujarat resides a tribe of African descent known as the Siddi. Yes, people of African origin in India. The Siddi tribe looks like Africans but they speak fluent Gujarati and follow Indian customs. How did they end up in Gujarat, and what’s their story?
The Siddi tribe arrived in India more than two centuries ago. When the Portuguese landed in the country, they brought people from East Africa to work for them. Many of these people were the ancestors of the Siddi tribe who live in India today. Over the years, the Siddi’s original African culture and traditions have faded however, remnants of a different past still exist in their music and especially the traditional dance, the “Siddi Dhamal.”
A Buffalo Worth $90 Million
In a world where most people value luxury cars and penthouses, this story from India is a game-changer. Say hello to Yuvraj, an Indian buffalo that gives luxury and wealth a new name. Yuvraj is worth a gobsmacking INR 9.25 crore, approximately $90 million. The animal has caused quite a stir among animal enthusiasts and collectors.
What's so special about him? Yuvraj isn’t your average buffalo. This pedigree buffalo is a massive 11.5 feet wide and 5.8 feet tall. Of course, he needs a careful diet to stay in top form, and he reportedly drinks 20 liters of milk, and eats 10kg of fruits and 5kg of green fodder and dry straw every day.
Babiya, The Vegetarian Crocodile
For decades, devotees visiting the Ananthapura Lake temple in Kerala flocked to see Babiya, the vegetarian crocodile. Legend says that Babiya appeared in the temple pond shortly after a British soldier shot a crocodile there in 1945. She initially seemed like any other crocodile, as her size and strength were formidable, but Babiya turned out to be the gentlest crocodile the world had probably seen.
She had no interest in the fish or other organisms that inhabited the pond with her. Babiya was content with offerings from the temple or people who visited. And thus, the "vegetarian crocodile" became a phenomenon. Babiya tragically passed away, but her legacy endures at the Ananthapura Lake temple.
Kongthong, the Singing or Whistling Village.
Welcome to Kongthong, the "Whistling" or "Singing" Village in Meghalaya, India. People here don't call each other by name but by a special melody or tune. Every villager has two names: a regular name and a unique song, and when a new baby is born, the mother composes a song for them.
The residents of Kongthong call this tune 'Jingrwai Lawbei,' or mother’s love song, and when a person passes away, their song or tune dies with them. Knowing how to carry a decent tune isn’t for the exceptionally talented, it’s essential in Kongthong. Unlike other places, singing represents identity and a way of life.
The Magnificent Rural Olympics
Acrobats on horseback. Kite flying. Racing in farm machinery. And the crowd goes wild! These are just some of the things you can expect at the magnificent Rural Olympics in India. Locally called the Qila Raipur Festival, the annual event has been a grand celebration of rural life in Punjab since 1933. Participants compete in traditional games such as Kabbadi, Kho-Kho, and Rasa Kashi (tug of war).
The games also feature contemporary sports like hockey and cycling, but the performing arts steal the show each year. Think tractor races, martial arts, and sword fighting. The Rural Olympics are age agnostic, and it doesn't matter if you are 18 or 80, everyone is welcome here. One of the most popular events is a 100m race for 90-year-olds who usually give their grandkids a run for their money.