House Walls Shine With Kapdaganda Design Of Dongria Groups In Odisha’s Rayagada

Rayagada: The art forms of Dongria Kondhs which once adorned the walls of their shrines of Niyam Raja and Dharanipenu are being promoted in a big way now. The same Kapdaganda arts and designs now glorify the walls of their houses in Odisha’s Rayagada district.

Kapdaganda shawl, unique to Dongria Kondh tribe, has reached the last leg of the race for Geographical Indications (GI) tag.

The special Development Council (SDC) has been constituted to safeguard the art and cultures of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). The state government has constituted this council for the protection of the arts, crafts, cultures, traditions, folk lore, songs, festivals and jewelleries of these groups.

The basic objective of the SDC is to safeguard the tribal culture and arts and crafts and efforts are being made to decorate the walls of a total of 350 houses with Kapdagunda style. As many as 120 of these houses are at Khambesi under Bisamacuttack block in Rayagada  district, followed by 90 house walls of village Khajuri, 45 in Kadragumma, 11 in Kudavellipadar, 36 of Kurli, 13 of Arsakani and 25 house walls of Patalamba.

In order to appease their gods and goddesses, the Dongria Kondhs draw these arts on the woven shawls and scarfs. The Dongrias have decided to display and promote their art by showcasing these on the outer walls of their houses.

Niyamgiri Dongria Kandha Weavers Association and Directorate of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI) had jointly filed an application, seeking the tag from the GI registrar to protect the misuse of this handloom product by mass production.

There is a huge demand for this ethnic embroidered shawl of Dongria Kondhs, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) who live in the Niyamgiri Hills of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts, among domestic and international tourists for its geometric patterns.

The hand-woven motifs are mostly different types of lines and triangular shapes that reflect the importance of mountains for the community. These are embroidered, using red, green and yellow threads, on an off-white coarse cloth, which they procure from the Domb, a local schedule caste community, by bartering harvested crops.

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