Our resorts are located in regions that are uniquely rich in culture and history. We, at Waxpol Hotels and Resorts, believe that guests have to visit and interact with the local villagers and tribes to gain a deeper understanding of their history, culture and day to day lives. We organise (on request) anthropological tours from Sunderban Tiger Camp, The Riverwood Forest Retreat – Dooars and The Riverwood Forest Retreat – Pench. Guests are escorted to the nearby villages in the vicinity of the resorts. The tours are led by local villagers and last for 2-3 hours. The villager, who will be your guide, will share insights on how the villagers came to settle into the area, their culture, history, their daily means of livelihood and their religious beliefs.
Pench Anthropological Tour
Gond Tribe Interaction
The dominant tribal community inhabiting the Pench National Park is the Gond tribe. The Gond live in hamlets that have wooden structures and are plastered with cow dung and clay. A walk through the Kohka or Khambrit villages offers visitors a glimpse into the daily life, cultures and customs of the Gond tribe. The villagers earn their livelihood from pottery, making and selling jaggery, working as guides with the forest department and working at the resorts around Pench National Park.
Potters Village Experience
Guests have the option of embarking on a visit to the Pachdhar village, which is situated at a 10 minutes drive from The Riverwood Forest Retreat – Pench. This village is also known as the ‘Village of Kumbhars (Potters)’. There is a potter’s wheel outside almost every house in the village. The affable villagers welcome visitors to watch or even try their hand at making a pot. Guests also get to participate in the communal baking of pots that takes place every evening at the edge of the village during winter and summer months. Sun-dried earthenware is stacked several feet high with layers of dried grass and wood in between. The fire is lit in the evening when the weather is cooler and it is easier for the villagers to witness sparks and flames in the dark. These terracotta products are sold in the nearby markets in Nagpur. Visitors also have the option to buy these clay bowls, vases and pots are souvenirs from their visit.
Dooars Anthropological Tour
The Anthropological tours organised by The Riverwood Forest Retreat – Dooars offer visitors the opportunity to witness the influence of the various tribes that inhabit the Dooars region. The inhabitants comprise of tribes from Nepal, Burma, North-east India and Bengal. The original inhabitants of this region are considered as ancient as the Mongolians. The Mongoloid features are still visible on the natives composed of numerous tribes, including the Bodo in Assam, and the Rabha, the Mech, the Toto, the Koch Rajbongshi, the Tamang/Murmi, the Limbu, the Lepcha in Bengal.
The Oraons, Mundas, Kharia, Mahali, Lohara and ChikBaraik tribes were relocated to the Dooars region from Nepal, ChotaNagpur and SanthalParganas by the British to work in the tea gardens. The tribals of Chotanagpur origin were employed in tea gardens, which started production during the 1870s. Apart from the tribal population, a large Bengali population (mostly displaced from the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) by the Partition of Bengal) also populate the Dooars.
The present day tribes earn their livelihood from agriculture, working in tea gardens, working with the forest department and working in the various resorts in the Dooars National Park. They also make bamboo art and buffalo horn artefacts that are sold as souvenirs to visitors.
Totopara is located at a distance of 77 kms from The Riverwood Forest Retreat Dooars. It is a tiny hamlet where the Totos, an aboriginal tribe of Indo-Bhutanese origin, live. The Totos have broad and square cheeks, flat noses, small eyes and thick lips. They are usually endogamous and marry within their own tribe. Their staple food consists of rice, milk, yogurt and different forms of meat. They drink a form of liquor called Eu, which is served warm in Poipa (wooden glasses). Most of the Totos live in elevated bamboo huts. Most of the huts are surrounded by a kitchen garden where the tribal people grow their own vegetables.
Sundarbans Anthropological Tour
The Anthropological tours of Sundarbans are both eye-opening and heart-wrenching at the same time. During the tours, guests will learn about the history of how the human settlements came into existence, the religious beliefs of the villagers and the daily hardships faced by the inhabitants to earn their livelihoods.
The human settlements at Sundarbans dates back to 600 years. Religion is a vital issue for the people at Sunderbans. To avoid the natural hazards, quite prevalent in this region, the people have taken recourse to the same religious belief. It is the only place in the world, where you will find both Hindus and Muslims pray to the same Gods, such as Bonobibi, Monosha and Gazi Pir. There is a substantial Christian community, but it too dwells in communal harmony. This bonding among the people, irrespective of religion, sets a beautiful example for all to follow.
Previously, the villagers used to make money from poaching and piracy. The poachers used to send children to fish, which made them vulnerable to attacks from man-eating tigers and crocodiles. As times changed, the people are now dependent on the forest and agriculture to earn their livelihood. Fish, wood, honey, beeswax, etc are some of the forest resources that villagers gather and sell to meet their daily needs. Recently, villagers have also started working with the forest department as guides and as employees in the resorts around Sundarban National Park to reduce their dependency on earning revenue from selling forest resources.
Cultural Tour (Bonobibi)
A visit to various villages around the Northern Side of the Sundarban National Park is organized to meet locals belonging to different cultures and regions who have settled in Sunderbans over the last century with a diverse background and occupation.
The Hungry Tide Tour
The Hungry Tide is a novel written by acclaimed Indian author, Amitav Ghosh. Sundarbans forms the backdrop for the novel, which focuses on the environment, faith, class structure, and the complex history of India in terms of colonialism and sectarian conflict. As part of The Hungry Tide tour, guests are taken to different locations that are mentioned in the novel and the guide will explain the importance of each location along with the role it played in history.
Please inform our reservation team of your intent to attend any of the Anthropological tours at the time of booking your stay and we will be glad to assist you with the requisite information, schedules and pricing.