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This November is a season (ritu/ऋतु) of many festivals (tyohar/त्योहार) including Diwali and Thanksgiving. Members of the Indian diaspora around the world celebrates Diwali with the same fervor as in their home country. Traditions and rituals (parampara aur anushthaan/परंपरा और अनुष्ठान) may vary from region to region, however the essential significance (mool mahatva/मूल महत्व) of Diwali remains the same — the victory of good over evil (buraai par acchaai ki jeet/बुराई पर अच्छाई की जीत).
A delightful (manohar/मनोहर) Diwali tradition is prevalent in parts of the states of Maharashtra and North Karnataka. Both states boast a rich history of forts (durg/दुर्ग). Forts, their ramparts (pracheer/प्राचीर) and the history (itihaas/इतिहास) behind them appeal to a wide variety of audiences. Children’s curious minds are no exception.
During Diwali (divaali ke dauraan/दिवाली के दौरान), children here engage in an activity where they construct mud forts (geelee mitti ke durg/गीली मिट्टी के दुर्ग). These forts are constructed in front courtyards (aangan/आंगन) of homes, gardens, or community spaces with appropriate permissions in place. Children work in groups to undertake the fort-building task. Teams decide which fort they are going to build. Drawings (nakshe/नक्शे) are made, details (vivaran/विवरण) discussed and materials (saamagri/सामग्री) transported to the site of the mud fort construction activity. In preparation for this event, many local stores in the area also sell ready-made ramparts and other elements of forts. While some children choose to create their own structure from scratch, some others might choose to build with ready-made sections and instead, focus on adding more depth and detail to their structures.
Activities such as these not only teach children about the history of the region, but they also learn valuable skills like planning, collaboration and execution of projects. Here’s brief video that describes this unique activity.
season = ritu/ऋतु
festivals = tyohar/त्योहार
traditions and rituals = parampara aur anushthaan/परंपरा और अनुष्ठान
essential significance = mool mahatva/मूल महत्व
victory of good over evil = buraai par acchaai ki jeet/बुराई पर अच्छाई की जीत
delightful = manohar/मनोहर
forts = durg/दुर्ग
ramparts = pracheer/प्राचीर
history = itihaas/इतिहास
during Diwali = divaali ke dauraan/दिवाली के दौरान
mud forts = geelee mitti ke durg/गीली मिट्टी के दुर्ग ; geelee mitti/गीली मिट्टी = wet mud
front courtyards = aangan/आंगन
drawings = nakshe/नक्शे
details = vivaran/विवरण
materials = saamagri/सामग्री
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