Desi Diaries: Untravel trip #2: move to the silent rhythms of Tarpa

Go westwards to Dadar and Nagar Haveli and celebrate with the local tribes swaying to the rhythm of the music gifted to them by Narendeva.

Unlike the dances we are familiar with, here, there is no rhythm, there is little music that is being played; rather the music comes with the dance. And thus, Tarpa is mostly about celebrating change and innovation. One of most common characteristics of tribal culture is the love for music, dance and liquor. Many things about the Tarpa festival are unusual, which brings us to discuss this must visit festival of Dadar and Nagar Haveli.

Dadar and Nagar Haveli’s tribal festival

The Tarpa festival is celebrated between the months of November to May, which is usually after the harvest. It is considered a taboo to celebrate Tarpa between June and October. Tarpa is basically a cultural outburst of the Aadiwasi and folk dance of Dadar and Nagar Haveli. Tribes in and around Dadar Haveli come together to dance to the auspicious Tarpa, a wind instrument which is gifted to them by Narandeva. It is a very important festival for the Warli tribes. There are no drums or any other musical instrument used, except for a maximum of two Tarpas.  Since the music lacks rhythm or flow thus it give dancers to be innovative and change their moves frequently. The participants swing in a circle and sing to themselves.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli

The dance – Tarpa

The dance is energetic and usually performed by young men and women. If you want to feel young, it is a good chance to join them in the celebration or you could also sit back along with the audience. The dance is an energetic performance, and the formation is a circle with the anti-clock movement which is also known to be the movement of the cosmic force.

Warli painting

Tarpa dance in Warli Painting

Beyond Tarpa- Eco-tourism

Dadar and Nagar Haveli is a cluster of 72 villages. It is a unique chance for tourists to explore the rich flora and fauna of the place. Apart from the Government’s efforts there are numerous organizations that are working on preserving the rich flora and fauna, and the rare and endangered species of animals and birds of the region.

Silvassa the Capital, is a good place for history lovers. In museums and stores, you could also find souvenirs like bamboo crafts, palm leaf mats, masks, and Warli paintings, all of them handmade by the tribals.

For a more relaxed holiday:

Dadra, 5 km from Silvassa offers the best scenic beauty. It has a typical cinematic setting offering a lush green garden with quaint wooden bridges, thatched huts, paddle boats and jogging paths of the Island Garden Dadra and the Vanganga Lake.

Khanvel resort

Khanvel resort

Drive to Khanvel which 20 km south of Silvassa, is a pleasant one amidst the greenery around.

For a more adventurous holiday:

Luhari, 14 km from Silvassa is a resort which is place amidst the forested areas. It offers trekking, camping facilities around the woods and the wildlife sanctuary.

Vasona again not too far from Silvassa, is famous for its lion safaris.

Safari- Vasona

Lion and deer safari

For an action packed holiday:

Dhundni is an aqua-serene resort which is 40 km from Silvassa. It has a large water front of the Damanganga river which has a variety of water sport facilities. 

Tarpa goes modern

The Tarpa festival has gone through transformation. Now the participants have become more innovative with the dress, make up and presentation. Tarpa dance, from being a sudden outburst of celebration has transformed into a more organised event.

Taking advantage of the growing interest around Tarpa, the tourism department of Union territory of Dadar and Nagar Haveli have chalked out a three day event during December. This is hosted in a stadium in Silvassa, where audience are invited to watch different tribes dance to the Tarpa, take part in competitions like swimming, cooking, rangoli, art etc. and comedy shows and plays performed during the event.

The Desi Diaries Festival Calendar by The Alternative is a compilation of 15 #Untravel trips you can make to see lesser known cultures across the length and breadth of India that come alive this festive season. Plan a trip, be quick and go celebrate like a local!

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