Chhattisgarh | Lost Tribal Art


Ever seen a lamp or a water container made from the ubiquitous bottle gourd  (Lauki in Hindi)

You read it right. An attractive lamp and water container are indeed made from the vegetable, commonly found in India.

The age-old art of making a lamp or water container, from a dried bottle gourd shell to be precise, is called Tuma. And the tribals in Bastar in Chhattisgarh specialize in it. Gourds used to make lamps need not be as tough as those used to make containers. Some people also keep dried gourds on the roofs of their houses so that they can make containers whenever they need.

The sustainable water containers are tough on the exterior and soft on the inside which helps keep water cool in the harsh summers. It also ensures that water does not leak. People also used tuma containers to carry millet pej, a type of liquid porridge

Cost of Lamps

Lamps are priced at Rs 500 to Rs 3500 and bottles cost somewhere around Rs 400-Rs 500.

But due to the influx of plastic water bottles even in tribal villages, the use of Tuma to carry water or pej has suffered a major setback.

A Review of Impacts and Trends published by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health in 2023, says that the current global bottled water sales are estimated at almost 270 billion US$ and 350 billion litres.

A report, Global Bottled Water Industry:

Baliram Nag, who belongs to the Dhurwa Adivasi community in Bastar, said many people do not grow desi or indigenous varieties of bottle gourd anymore used mostly for making water containers.

As people have more money in their hands now, they often buy food and water bottles from shops during their journey. This was not the practice before when people set out from their homes after consuming pej and carried water in Tuma bottles.

Traditional Attire  Of Pawara  Tribeswomen  Losing Its Charm

The younger ones prefer going for a change