Khairda Village: 7 out of the ordinary things about this hamlet

An image of the village road going from Khairda to Kamarda

Khairda village is a small hamlet close to Kamarda in the Bhograi Tehsil of Odisha State near West Bengal.

It is located amidst the fresh air, beautiful green landscape and a close-knit community with skilled workers and farmers.

Like many villages in India, farming is also the backbone of Khairda with two-third of the residents taking active part in the farming and related activities. This village is very well known for hosting many Mahotsav also known as festival, its cultural heritage and warmest of hospitalities not seen anywhere else.

Khairda gives a visitors a glimpse of the village way of life and its simplicity, yet is still, far from the busy lifestyle of the city.

Information about Khairda village

Village Name:Khairda
Tehsil Name:Bhograi Tehsil
District:Baleswar
State:Odisha
Pin code:756035
Postal Office:Kamarda

Here are the 7 out of the ordinary things of Khairda:

1. Every household has a pond

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It might seem strange to you but every household in Khairda has a pond of their own, you might wonder why and how does it matter if a household has pond or not?

Firstly, the ponds are the livelihood of the residents living here, the ponds are used on a daily basis for washing utensils, bathing, catching fish and crabs, irrigation , and even for cattle. The ponds are naturally present through out the village which allows the resident to avoid the scarcity of water. Odisha is a state that has plenty of water bodies around it yet has suffered from extreme water scarcity through out the years.

The residents of the village have been affected mostly due to the severe draught through out the years and the ponds are the only means of preserving water through rain harvesting for future usage.

The ponds are often used as means of recreation and relaxation during the hot summers by both the children and elders. Some of the villagers also lease it out to other members of the village so that they may use it to harvest fish, the money acquired from the lease can later be used for the families essential needs.

Maybe it is time that we switch back to old days and have a pond instead of running after a lavish swimming pool.

2. Puffed rice is a staple food

Puffed rice in a brown bowl

Don’t get me wrong, but an amazing French toast with a hot cappuccino can do wonders, but the residents of this village prefer puffed rice. In simple terms, Puffed rice are soaked rice which puff up from the extreme heat of the steam.

Puffed rice is eaten on a regularly basis from morning’s breakfast to the end of the day’s dinner. You might think, “don’t the residents get bored out of eating the same food everyday for the rest of their lives“. The simple answer is “NO”. The residents of Khairda village, live their life through the means of sustainable food system, puffed rice is one of them.

During the season of rice harvest, two-third of the unpolished grains are sold to the wholesale buyer which is further sold to the retailers. The left one-third is utilized for the family of the household, some of them are used for eating rice on a daily basis and some are converted into puffed rice which can also be stored for a long duration.

Villagers of Khairda, prefer eating puffed rice by soaking it in water, and having it along with spiced onion and eggplant which gives a flavorful taste and also gives them the right amount of calories which allow them to work hard on their farms.

Puffed rice is also eaten as a snack with some other fried condiments such as a pakora while watching TV in the evening. There are also has many health benefits of puffed rice which can be seen from the longevity of residents residing here.

3. Tulsi in every home

An image of Tulsi outside on the Verandah in the villlage
Photo credit: Virasat-e-Hind

Tulsi is also known as “Holy Basil” and its scientific term is known as “Ocimum Tenuiflorum. In Khairda village, Tulsi can be seen being kept in a traditionally designed clay pot on the verandah of every home. It is common to find Tulsi around every corner, here in the village as it has both Vedic and religious attachments to it.

In terms of Vedic scriptures, Tulsi has been known to be used for the purpose of curing illness, ailments, fever, disease and malaria from the ancient times. Tulsi also produces natural oil from its leaves, which is said to aid in recovering from dulled smell sense by sniffing it.

Tulsi is known throughout India and the world but the villagers of Khairda have a deep religious sentiment towards it. The ladies of the household will be seen praying the Tulsi plant in the early morning, that helps in purification of the home as per the Hindu tradition.

According to the Bhagwat Purana, it is said that when Lord Krishna was being weighed in gold, no amount of Satyabhama’s gold could exceed that of Lord Krishna’s weight. But when Rukmani placed a single Tulsi leaf over the ornaments, the weighing scale tilted. This shows the true divineness and significance of Tulsi in the Khairda village.

4. Mitti Ka Chula

An image of Mitta Ka Chula also known as Mud stove

Mitti Ka Chula” also known as clay stove cooking, has been used as a cooking method from a very long period in the village. Even after the introduction of gas stoves, the people residing her in the Khairda village have seldomly preferred it over “Mitti ka Chulha”.

Mitti Ka Chula” is known to have both environmental and health benefits. Many people believe that clay stove causes massive air pollution due to its smoke but in reality, the dry cow dung used for cooking is bio-degradable that helps in cleansing the air and keeping the home’s of the villagers free from insects and mosquitoes.

Mitti Ka Chulha” is also known to provide an elevated taste to the dish being prepared along with the additional smokiness flavor. Clay stove cooking method is not too harsh which allows the slow cooking to keep all the nutrients and minerals intact to the food.

Another benefit which residents of Khairda village have is affordability, “Mitti Ka Chula” is literally free compared to the usage of gas stove , many of the residents are not used to gas stove cooking and prefer avoiding expenses which are not necessary, when there are better affordable substitutes available.

5. Houses made from clay and mud

An image of house made of mud and clay in the village of Odisha in Khairda

Majority of the villages in India, have houses made from clay and mud, so don’t be astonished to find the same here in Khairda village. It is no denying that the progress of infrastructure in India has progressed intensely, but these changes cannot be pushed over to the villagers who have built these clay and mud homes from scratch with their own bare hands.

There many various benefits of having a mud home, from being fire-resistant to temperature insulation. Mud houses are made from earth resources i.e. Mud/Clay that is non-inflammable therefore, making it fire-resistant.

Mud is known to be a bad conductor of heat, which works in a manner of vice-versa during the seasonal changes. During the hot summer, the heat is unable to pass the mud barrier due to the bad conduction, which allows the inner walls of the house to remain cooler meanwhile during the winter the temperature outside falls greatly while the heat within the house is captured within the walls, making it warm and cozy.

Another big reason for the residents of Khairda village to choose mud house over cement house is because of the low cost involved to acquire the earth resources to build the house. Mud houses are also easy to maintain, compared to the modern ones that require high quality equipment which are very expensive for the villagers, who are majorly in the industry of agriculture.

6. Vegetables from the backyard

An image of two women checking the vegetable leaves behind their homes
Photo credit: 101reporters

Villages located in Odisha are widely recognized for having extremely fertile soil which is also known as Alluvial soil which is suitable for growing pulses, rice and sugarcane. Khairda village is among the few villages that is fortunate to have Alluvial soil, you may be wondering, how is this alluvial soil so fertile and helpful in the growth of various crops.

Alluvial soil is formed by the river sediments which include silt, clay and sand that includes rich mineral, which are necessary for the growth of a healthy crop. This soil has has the advantage of water absorbing capacity which makes it the perfect land to grow your favorite vegetables.

Every household in Khairda village has a backyard filled with vegetable crops such as eggplant, chili, jackfruit, pumpkin, coriander, bitter gourd, and lady finger along with fresh aromatic flowers as well.

The best part about these crops is that, they are grown without the human interference, and have the highest amount of nutrients compared to those which are continuously sprayed with pesticides and injected with various bio-medicine to increase the size of the crop.

Khairda village is the best example of farm to table with the freshest vegetables. Maybe its time we take notes from the residents of this village.

7. Uncountable invitations

The Khairda village community is close-knitted and you will find that everyone knows each other. This hamlet is quite similar to the residents who live in the same society compound in the city. The villagers here have a simple life, they might not be rich but they are definitely rich by their heart and compassion.

You will see that, in Khairda village, residents would often invite everyone from the village at their home for a meal even if it is just a small pooja. The folks in this village treat every tiny occasion as a Mahotsav and their hospitality is more spectacular.

We are not talking about a small meal, here you will be served multiple kinds of vegetables, rice, curry and snacks on dry leaf plate making it one “Grand Thali”.

During wedding and festive season expect to be invited almost 2 to 3 times a week for a meal at the residents home. The people residing here in Khairda are happy with the simple things in life and they try to avoid any kinds of complications in life which is why you will see that many of elderly residents of Khairda village have an average age of 75.

Why Village life is better than city life?

Village life truly offers an escape from the busy city life, providing individuals with insights into a simple and nature connected lifestyle which improves health and longevity. The peaceful atmosphere of the village offers respite from the noise and pollution prevalent in cities.

The slow pace of life in the village allows to to think more mindfully and appreciate the small things in life, which has been tarnished due to the influence of social media in the city.

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