VGKK has recently opened a resort, and it’s called
Sumitra, one of the teachers at VGKK, had told me that "Goruka" means a spider, and then I heard "Gorukana" in most of the songs the dancers' group sang, and Tara, who is the receptionist, told me that Gorukana are the tribal songs...so I was confused.
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Actually 'Gorukana' means 'Spinning the spiders web'. Its not meant to be an actual meaning.
So this is the story behind it. Soliagas would go out into the forests and come at the end of the day. So people would sit around the fire and share each others day's stories in the jungle.. this could be.. what they saw.. how they got something etc. So they keep telling stories to each other, spinning the story of the jungle. This 'Spinning of stories (web)' is loosely translated to 'gorukana'. You must hear the translation of the song itself.. its filled with amazing natural history folk lore.
I heard another version of it.
The soligas considered the forest as their god so they never spat or wore footwear. As they walked through the jungle they sang songs to keep them company and it included everything around them like the tree, bees lichen and lots more.
Even till this day they have the habit of adding everything they see into their Gorukana song. The older folks prefer to address the gods and the younger people address a pretty girl/ old man/ bald man in a humorous way during their festivals at dodda sampige. Their language is a little hard to follow so you would never know if they added you in as well. It happened to me :)
The signboard :
The cottages at the resort are set amidst a plantation of White Cedar trees:
I was invited to stay there by Kalyan and Shilpa. The staff took a look at me, and matched me up with the Monkey Cottage...
It was luxurious inside:
Every cottage contains one of Kalyan's photographs of the animal that cottage is named for, taken in BR Hills...he won the ABN-AMRO Wildlife Photographer of the Year award in 2005, for a photograph clicked in K.Gudi.
Almost all the staff are Soligas, and I met Tara, the pretty young receptionist, with Arjun:
Arjun is one of the chefs at Gorukana; he comes from distant Bihar! Here he is, with his assistant Jagadish, and two lady helpers:
The naturalists at Gorukana have been trained by Kalyan and Ganesh; here are Jadeiah, Krishnakumar, Krishna, and Jadeswamy:
All of them came along with us for the children's outings and were very helpful indeed. Jadeswamy told me about himself; he is from Kollegal, and his wife, Shashikala, who is right next to him in the photograph below, is doing her nursing training at the VGKK Tribal Hospital, and will be employed there soon:
Here are Krishna and Krishnakumar with Harpreet, who was a parent-volunteer from Valley School, and some of the children:
Here's Gorukana in the deepening dusk, hoping that visitors will begin to arrive in large numbers; all the proceeds go to the tribals of BR Hills:
Though I couldn't spend much time in the resort, because of my commitment with the children, I still enjoyed the comfort of a soft bed and the beautifully appointed bathroom! Thank you, Gorukana, I hope to enjoy your hospitality again!