Baliguda in the state of Orissa is home to the Kutia Kondh tribe. The Kondhs form numerically the largest group among the just over 60 tribes of Orissa. Historically, the Kondhs were renowned for their brutal acts of human sacrifice and infanticide to achieve better agricultural yield. The Kondhs comprise a number of peoples including the Kutia Kondhs and also the Dongria Kondhs.
The Kutia and Dongria Kondh tribes are expert agriculturalists and perhaps the most primitive of Orissa’s tribes. Simply attired in clothes, women wear two cloths for modesty, whilst Kutia men tend to wear just a loin cloth. Dongria men wear a longer cloth. Dongria Kondh women tend to be very fond of ornamentals and adorn themselves with hairpins, earrings, nose rings and headwear. Kondh males tend to wear bracelets and earrings and most often sport long hair knotted at the nape. The Kutia Kondhs also tattoo their faces and hands.
Capable farmers, the Kondh’s toil the land producing cash crops of turmeric, mustard, ginger, arrowroot and so forth. Fruit crops are also grown by cross-sections of the Kondh. Bartering is a way of life amongst the Kondhs. Fond of fermented palm sap with added herbs and roots, this beverage is alcoholic and used for rituals and also consumed as part of the Kondh’s everyday life, irrespective of gender or age.
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