Travel to Devrai Art Village:
As someone who is interested in the aesthetics of Indian culture, I believe that we tend to overlook indigenous arts at times. Yes – India has some of the grandest colonial and Islamic architecture and our Hindu temples are adorned with some of the most creatively represented motifs – but if we were to hark back to an earlier age there is more art to celebrate.
That is when I heard about the Devrai Art Village, an organization that blends creativity with a very noble cause – empowerment of the Adivasi communities and promotion of their varied styles of folk art and craft. Planning the trip from the bustling city was rather simple. Our group did not want any hassles on the way to this unique destination so we decided to book a highly-rated taxi in Mumbai and then relax on the way. The location of Devrai Art Village is itself very alluring. The drive to the village was mesmerizing. We passed through the favourite Mumbaikar haunts of Lonavala and Khandala and stopped over on the outskirts of Pune to dig into a delicious meal. An early start is recommended to get the best of the trip – especially for those who are planning it as a day trip. The Art Village is just a few kilometres away from Mahabaleshwar and on the mountainous highway, we were constantly accompanied by fascinating views of gorges and forests.
Overview and daily activities:
The Devrai Art Village is in the Panchgani area, known for its natural attractions and spectacular scenery. This provided a perfect setting as we delved into the world of tribal art. In Devrai Art Village, tribal creativity is brought into the contemporary fold by introducing modern themes – so everywhere we looked we saw workmanship that was passed over generations resulting in some very innovative and recognizable images.
The rock dhokras were quite a fascinating collection. I have always been interested in how metal is moulded into different shapes and the Art Village has very good examples of this intricate style of craft. Some of the pieces we observed included a Nandi statue, a dhokra sculpture of the goddess Parvati, and representations of various animals like elephants, tortoises, and horses.
The visit to Devrai Art Village was also an emotionally stirring one. The organization promotes the beautiful work of the women adivasis, a section of the community that has been ignored for many years. Watching these beautiful souls at work and getting a chance to showcase their talent on such a platform was very inspiring and the best part is that visitors can learn some of the skills too. I clearly look forward to the workshops that the Devrai Art Village will be conducting – imagine getting to stay in this picturesque part of the world and learning a new craft. Nothing can be more soothing for the city dweller.
The brass paintings were another popular attraction at the Devrai Art Village. Our group was already salivating at the prospect of picking up some of this eclectic art and we were already discussing where certain things will fit in our already-crowded Mumbai living spaces. The depictions on the paintings ranged from the abstract to images of the surrounding environment.
Devrai Art Village also has many crafts that are functional in nature. Wall hooks, spoons, candle stands, pen holders, and mortar pestles made of brass were just some of the many items available. It was impossible to resist such an endearing collection of beautiful and absolutely practical items. It wasn’t all about brass and metal – there were plenty of things crafted out of bamboo and wood too. The lamp collection was also something I personally liked a lot.
How to reach Devrai Art Village:
As mentioned above, if you are going for a day trip then it is best to start early. The route to Devrai Art Village will tempt you to take many stops – with so many interesting towns and natural spots on the way. For groups larger than 5 you can book a quality Innova in Mumbai at an affordable price – the more comfortable your journey the more energy you will have when you reach your destination. Devrai Art Village can also be a good weekend trip, nearby Mahabaleshwar provides a quintessential hill station escape.
The best trips are those where we find peace and also get to learn and appreciate new things. Devrai Art Village is born out of a wonderful idea – helping our indigenous communities find new avenues to share their rich culture. It was indeed a wonderful experience, made even better by the comfortable ride and the captivating sights on the way. I would certainly recommend a trip to Devrai Art Village – it would be impossible to describe everything there in words. As we headed back home, we all had great satisfaction that we got immerse in such a creative space and also contribute to a much-needed cause.
Distance and time taken:
From Mumbai, it takes about 4 hours 59 min to cover the distance of 246.0 km through the Bengaluru – Mumbai Hwy/Mumbai Hwy/Mumbai – Pune Hwy and NH 48.