Posts

Showing posts from September, 2016

In the hills of Coorg, a martial tribe celebrates an annual festival with worship of guns

Image
Kodava elders hope the festival of Kailpodh will encourage the community's youth to enter international sporting events. Deep in the sanctum of his 150-year-old ancestral home, Lokesh Achappa is surrounded by weapons. Dressed in a Kupya, the traditional Coorgi outfit of knee-length black overcoat, a gold and maroon sash with an ornate, carved silver dagger tucked in its folds, Achappa prays to an array of weapons: an antique double-barrel, a .22 mm rifle, traditional daggers and swords, all garlanded with flowers and smeared with sandalwood paste.
Once the ritual is complete, he steps out of the house, and a series of thundering gun shots reverberate across the valley.
Coorg, a district in Karnataka famous for its coffee, is home to the Kodavas, a martial hill tribe with a population of less than six lakh. Historically, the community has shared a deep connection with its weapons. Valiant guerrilla fighters and agriculturists, the Kodavas once defended territories with …