I spent a quiet weekend in Gorukana Resort in BR (Billigiri Ranga Swamy) Hills meditating and being close to nature. A 3 hour comfortable drive from Bangalore this area is home to Soliga Tribes and still unspoilt. Dedicated effort over the years by Dr H Sudarshan has ensured education and health facilities to the tribes living deep within the forested areas. After spending the day in meditation, we went around on a guided walk with the skilled naturalist. Back at the resort, we assembled in the ampitheatre for the evening tribal music and dance program ~ Soliga Beats.
While the drummers and dancers got ready, we basked in the warmth of the bonfire. The setting was perfect, with the 4 forces of nature (air, fire, earth, sky) in complete attendance and soon the 5th one made its presence felt with a pleasant sprinkling of rain which did not affect the fire, neither us. Soon the host took stage and introduced his team of performers from “Kusumalaya Arts” named after the supposed local beauty Kusumalay Devi who was married to Billigiri Ranga Swamy (Vishnu incarnation). The pulsating rhythm of the country drums set the tone for the rest of the evening
A small group of boys followed, dressed in leaf crowns and white dhotis dancing around the central bonfire. The youngest of them all, Basavraju not more than 6 years of age, matched step to step in perfect co-ordination like a born star.
The dance steps appeared to be a milder adaptation of “Chhau” (tribal dance from eastern part of India) not requiring as much of air lift but ample rhythmic control while bending the knees and twisting the hips maintaining complete balance. The vocal sounds of “Goru-ko, Goru-ko, Gorukana” as a tribute to nature and seeking blessings to wade through the web of life in complete peace and harmony reverberated around.
We joined in chorus with the vocal team singing “Govinda” or “Ranga” as instructed. Soon, everyone joined in to dance around the fire making best efforts to match their steps. The next 15 minutes were heavenly, the atmosphere filled with positive energy and every individual appearing to be one with nature, swaying to the beats and sporting a broad smile on their faces flushed crimson from the pleasant heat of the bonfire. The energy channels that opened up in each individual during the early afternoon meditation session with Nithya Shanti seemed to have automatically expanded allowing the absorption of every bit of peace and happiness from the surrounding. We thanked them for the beautiful performance, wishing for their well being. The 4 course lip smacking dinner that followed was a perfect icing on an otherwise fulfilling day. Prepared with organic farm produce and minimal oil, it was lightly spiced to suit every palate. As, I mindfully chewed and gulped every morsel, I quietly looked up when no one noticed and thanked the universe for paving the way for this trip.
It’s been a while, am back in Bangalore but I often find myself humming “Goru Ko –Goru Ko-Gorukana” and reach out for the jar of “Amla Murabba” (Gooseberry soaked in sweet syrup) the taste of which is a sweet reminder of the Soliga Beats!!
The details for spending a weekend there http://www.gorukana.org