Our first stop was a local family in one of the Bishnoi villages. The water buffalo and his shed.
Manure is mixed with straw and dried for fuel.
The water buffalo didn't bother to respond.
The doorway to the house (and the kitchen)
Beds propped against the wall during the day in one bedroom.
Grinding millet for the daily meal.
The family was in an article in an Indian magazine many years ago.
The grandfather. The outfit is typical of the Bishnoi men.
Preparing for the opium ceremony.
The Bishnoi are still following their traditional ways. The Opium Tea Ceremony has been a ritual for the Bishnoi since time immemorial. It's given to honored guests as a sign of respect and to welcome them to the host's home. The grandfather dug deep into the hidden folds of his shirt and from a small bag produced two pieces of opium. Each piece was about the size of a lump of sugar. The opium was bound into jagerary (a palm sugar) to form a solid lump. We were offered a taste.Then he incanted a short prayer of dedication. The old man broke a piece from one lump, placed it in the urns. He then added water and ground the mixture down to a fine paste, diluting it further with water to become a thin broth. Next he strained the opium liquid through the long conical strainer made from camel hair. He repeated the process, and satisfied that the color--the liquid had a golden hue--and the fluidity were correct poured a few mouthfuls into his cupped hands. This was then the 'gift' offered to us as guests. The idea for drinking from the palm is that by offering an 'open hand' the host is offering his home freely. Likewise by drinking from the palm the guest is acknowledging this hospitality and, by the inclination of the head downwards, intimates he is totally relaxed.
Opium was used to ease the burden and hardship from working endlessly in the fields through all weathers, and, as it was an expensive commodity, it showed family wealth and family hospitality! Unfortunately, today opium has become a social problem and has less hospitable uses than greeting guests.
I can't imagine what that must do to your knees after a few years.
One of the women insisted on dressing us up.
Then they all had to join in on the fun.
Showing off the grandson.
Labels: Bishnoi, India and Nepal trip, Jodhpur