Lata village is located in district Chamoli of Uttarakhand, India, at an altitude of 2200-2400m. It is situated 30 km away from joshimath. This is a small village in which basically people of a particular tribe lives who are known as “Rongpa” & “Bhotiya”. The major rivers flowing in the area are dhauliganga which flows south-southwest and has two main tributaries – the west-southwest flowing rishiganga and a west flowing girthiganga. The village and the area around it is inhabited by the substantial tribal populations , the bhotiyas(rongpa), with two main subtribes , maarchha and tolchha. The area falls within the buffer zone of the nanda devi biosphere reserve (NDBR) whose core is adjacent to the villages of lata, reni, paing and tolma.
The centuries old occupation of the bhotiya community was trade with Tibet but after the indo-china conflict of 1962 the bhotiya community opted for other sources of livelihood i.e. sheep, wollen products, agriculture(cultivation of potatoes, kidney beans, apples, walnuts etc), dairy farming, searching for herbs on high mountains and then selling it.
Read This Also : कुमाऊं के लोकपर्व घुघुतिया त्यौहार का महत्व एवं लोककथा ।
The most common herb that is the main source of income of the area for many people is “Kidajadi”. Many of the villagers migrate to the higher altitudes of the mountains of their area in the search of this herb in the month of April-june. Also there are some employment schemes like Jawahar rozgaar yojana and many more that comes under “MGNREGA” etc.
CULTURAL HERITAGES AND RITUALS
The entire population in the lata village is hindu and the hindu festivals are celebrated with great joy and ceremony. The main festivals are Basant Panchami, Baisakhi(bikhoti), Nanda astami, Dussehra(durga astami). The community has a strong belief in the importance of the forefathers or ancestors (pitra). One important ritual is “Dharma” i.e. work conducted as a rememberance of departed souls. A primary form of dharma is construction of resting place along village route on the name of their ancestors or the one family member who passed away.
Read This Also : उत्तराखंड का लोकपर्व हरेला आज, युवा पीढ़ी को प्रकृति से जोड़ता है
DEITY OF LATA VILLAGE
The main deity of devotion in lata village is the goddess Nanda Devi. She is looked upon as Gaura, the wife of lord shiva and is the chief patron of the local communities. The Nanda Devi Temple at lata is the only major temple in the whole Niti valley. This ancient temple of Nanda Devi Lata is believed to be constructed during Katyuri Period. According to the folktales of the local people the name lata comes from latu devta the brother of Nanda Devi, and its believed that the presence of Nanda Devi Temple at lata gives added blessings to the residents.
RURAL FACILITIES OF THE VILLAGE
In lata village proper facilities like the medical facilities, educational facilities, water connection, electricity, etc. are not available properly. Also there is lack of educational facilities that’s why no English medium schools in the village or nearby the village are available. There is only one school i.e. primary school from 1-8 class and for secondary education the students have to go another village i.e. reni village which is 2 km away from lata village and for higher studies students have to go Gopeshwar or Srinagar i.e. at a distance of 91- 178 km. In medical field there is only one doctor available for the basic treatments or there is no hospital nearby that’s the reason people visit joshimath i.e. 30 km away to get a treatment if the doctor in the village is unable to treat because of unavailability of equipments atclinic of the doctor in village. In case of water connection there is no water connection at homes people store water at their homes from a particular place known as “Dhara”. So overall the villagers suffer a lot due to the lack of these basic facilities. Although there is a development of road infrastructure in the village in last few years and it’s developing with time so we can consider it as a developing village.
Tourism is one of the most important factor that makes Lata village center of attraction for the area. Many visitors visit the village every year to explore nature, culture and traditions. The main type of tourism seen here are domestic tourism and inbound tourism. The locals prefer this village to visit the ancient Nanda Devi temple and The foreign visitors visit the village to enjoy the scenic beauty of the area that includes Nanda devi national park, Nanda devi mountain(height of Nanda Devi mountain is 7816 metres), trekking and explore the culture and traditions of the area. Also its known for the completion of wishes that’s why sacrifices for the goddess on the completion of one’s wishes is also one of the reason of local’s visit.
CHIPKO MOVEMENT AND BHOTIYA COMMUNITY
Bhotiya women enjoys far more equal status to the men than in any other part of garhwal. This is evident in the participation of bhotiya women in collective issues both in action as well as in decision making.
Now the first question arises is “What is Chipko Movement?”, ”How is it related to bhotiya community?” & “Who started Chipko Movement?”.
So the answers of all these questions are, During the 1970’s when the forest department supplied timber at subsidised rates to industry, a movement to save the forests started in the garhwal i.e. known as Chipko movement. Chipko movement started in 1973. It was the collective response of the Garhwal mountain communities against the violation of their customary rights over natural resources. Chipko movement was started to conserve forests and trees. This movement successfully worked and stopped the large scale felling of trees in the area. Chipko movement is related to my village because this movement took place in our area and leaded by Gaura devi of Reni village and some of our villagers were also been the part of the movement. In the history of Chipko movement the bhotiya community is remembered for the courage of Gaura devi and her associates who took spontaneous action and refused to allow the labour force of forest contractors to enter the forests.
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