Mission Menauli | New houses for the Katkari Tribe | Sapana.org

When the contractors ran away with the money, which was given to them by the government to build houses for the Katkari Tribe in Menauli, Satara – The tribe had no option but to build the houses themselves. Miguel from Sapana.org (NGO) in collaboration with Shramik Janta Vikas Sansthan raised some funds to provide the materials, tools and skills to complete this work.

Her new perspective through an old Kodak | The Katkari Tribe | Gandhinagar, Medha village

Pooja Dzado Gandhinagar, Medha Village, Satara

Pooja Dzado
Gandhinagar, Medha Village, Satara

Katkari Tribe

Katkari Tribe

I reached Medha Village located in the Satara district of Maharashtra with Jeronimo Miguel from Sapana.org, who has been working in the surrounding villages towards the empowerment and sustainability of the Katkari Tribe, in collaboration with Shramik Janata Vikas Sanstha, a local NGO. They together were trying to impart skills to the Katkari women. One such project was to make quilled paper earrings.

In collaboration with Sapana.org, we gave a basic camera workshop to Pooja Dzado, from the Katkari tribe. She took photographs of her daily life for 3 days. Since we were using a very old analog camera, we were not sure what the outcome would be.

A bit about the process

Every day, we would go at noon and again around dusk to Gandhi Nagar and ask for Pooja Dzado. All the children would shout her name and in a few minutes she would appear, holding the camera from it’s strap, almost disheartened, would return the camera back to us, announcing that it doesn’t work anymore. We would then tell her that it’s just the film roll that needs to be changed. “You clicked 32 photos already?” Yes, she said, every time.  We would change the film roll and this went on for 3 days. By the end we had 6 film rolls and 150 photos.

I returned to Mumbai with the film rolls and I was told by the studio that only these photos could be saved. It was sad, since we couldn’t retrieve any photos of the Ganpati celebration, which happened as well. I retouched the photos a bit on Lightroom.

About Pooja and Gandhinagar village

Pooja is 16 years old and was married to someone she loves in her tribe two months back. She stays in a 2-room shanty with her partner’s family. She is currently also making quilled paper earrings, which Sapana.org buys for INR 20 each. (We will be producing a film about the creation of livelihoods through this process, in the next days). Next to her house, in another shanty, lives her mother and her little sister. Her father died a few years back. The tribe marries within themselves. Seemed to me that all are one big family with their stories woven into each other. The only profession pursued by the tribe is fishing – the men fish and the women sell it outside in the Medha Village.

Here are some of the photographs taken by Pooja Dzado, in and around Gandhinagar (Medha Village), Satara, Maharashtra. 

(We plan to gift a digital camera to Pooja Dzado with a memory card, if you like to donate for the same, drop a comment with your e-mail and we will get in touch.)

Varanasi Heritage Walks | Walking Tours | Espírito Kashi

Choose a walking tour OR let us design one for you.

Heritage Walks – 1

What lies to the left of the Dasashwamedh Ghat

1-day trip (4-5 hours)

This walk offers one to explore the Ghats as well as the oldest areas of Kashi (Pakka Mahaul). Starting from Dasashwamedh ghat, we will walk towards the Manikarnika Ghat which is known for being the Maha Shamshana (Cremation Ghat). Continuing the walk further, at the Panchganga Ghat, where Kabir would sing and write, we will climb the steps and enter the narrow by-lanes, exploring the oldest parts (known as the Pakka Mahaul). We can walk back to the Dasashwamedh Ghat or take a boat, which offers a mesmerizing experience of the evening Aarti ceremony.

Start time: 11am & 4pm

Price: INR 1000/person

Discuss: Death, after-death, Moksha (Liberation)

Approx. price for boat: INR 300/person (less for two)

Heritage Walks – 2

What lies to the right of the Dasashwamedh Ghat

1-day trip (4-5 hours)

This walk offers one to explore the Ghats as well as many temples that are located at the banks of the River Ganga. We’ll be entering the famous Bengali Tola (by-lane), walk until the Kedar Temple from where we’ll enter the Ghats. Walking on the ghats, we’ll walk towards the Assi Ghat. On the way, we’ll visit the traditional wrestling Akhara (training hall) and the ancient step-well pond of Lolark Kund, i.e, the home to the Sun God. From the Assi Ghat, you have an option to take a boat or walk back to Dasashwamedh Ghat.

Start time: 11am & 4pm

Price: INR 1000/person

Discuss: Lolark Kund – where thousands of women take a dip every year to be able to conceive.

Approx. price for boat: INR 300/person (less for two)

Temple Tours

1-day trip (5-6 hours)

Touring around the ancient temples that are rich with mythology, unique architecture and are dedicated to the avatars of Shiva, yet not so popular among the visitors.

Start time: 4pm

Price: INR 1200/person

Discuss: Mythology

Approx. price for Tuk-Tuks: INR 300/person (less for two)

Silk Weavers & Saree Retailers

1-day trip (4-5 hours)

We will visit the silk weavers of Varanasi and get to understand the processes involved in making a Saree. On the way, we will be meeting with those who are only involved in the design on the silk. Most of the silk industry in Varanasi is in a state of doom, as people prefer to buy Sarees made by machines. Finally, we will visit the Saree retailers – in case some of you are interested.

Start time: 11am

Price: INR 1200/person

Approx. price for Tuk-Tuks: INR 200/person (less for two)

Music Therapy

Our team member, Dr. Vijay Choubey, a renowned violinist from the Banaras Gharana offers a 2-hour music therapy and meditation workshop for individuals as well as groups. He believes that a Raag (melodic mode) can cure a Rog (illness). During this time, he will be performing and will also be willing to discuss about the Banaras Gharana and it’s current state.

Price: INR 1000/person

Please note that the prices does not include any kind of transportation and any other expenses incurred during the walk. We’ll make sure that ample time is devoted to each aspect of the walk.


Some Reviews about us:

We have just returned form Varanasi. It depends on what you want but for us Rajat, who runs Espirito Kashi, took us beyond the tourist venues. None of the guides you can get will have a deep knowledge of the detailed social, cultural and religious history of Varanasi. If you want  insight into any specific aspect then let Rajat know so that he can prepare a background brief before the group starts. Be specific and he will be able to prepare a suitable itinerary. His team connected our group of 15 with a side of Varanasi which is hard to find. We did not come away full of knowledge about religion and culture (you can read this in guide books) but we did come away understanding something about Varanasi which you do not find in guide books or from other guides. If you want a conventional tourist tour you will find many poor quality guides but if you want more than this you will not find many like Espirito Kashi.

-Pelham Roberts, Head of College (UWC, Pune) 

The students from UWC, Pune also got a documentary film made about their experiences with us in Varanasi. You can watch it here:

Get in touch with us:




Vivah Samskara | Bhojpuri Wedding Rites & Folk Songs | Experimental Doc

Vivah Samskara is a documentary film about the folk songs that are sung by women during the Bhojpuri wedding rites. It is a ceremony-wise musical annotation of a typical Bhojpuri wedding that is spread over 5 days. The documentary contains a first hand description of Bhojpuri wedding rites from the vantage point of a Brahmin family residing in Bhadwar village of Bihar.  The film is a part of a project on preservation of the Bhojpuri folk music.

an Espírito Kashi film