Journey to the Center of the World. Indigenous Cosmogony of Kuttia Kondh in Odisha

  • Stefano Beggiora (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


Recent studies in anthropology have stressed the need to reconsider the issue of otherness and pluralism by drawing inspiration from indigenous ontologies and, thus, reassessing human/non-human relations. Starting from this premise, this article develops an analogous paradigm by offering the case study of ethnographic research on an aboriginal group (ādivāsī), the Kuttia Kondhs, living in one of the most remote and pristine jungles of India (Odisha). It presents a twofold journey through the symbolic analysis of the Myth of Creation (Kui Gaani) and the unprecedented documentation of a sacred site that is believed to be the centre of the cosmos. This is Sopāngaḍā, a sacred hill covered with forest, the womb of mother earth, from which beings emerged. One of the earliest pieces evidence is the close kinship and consubstantiality among human/non-human agencies composing the hill, a real living entity that embodies the ādivāsī macrocosm.