For a long time it had been my wish to visit Maniabandha, a remote village in Odisha. The reason I wanted to visit this village is the people over there are Buddhists, perhaps only few thousand left in India who are the descendants of Mahayana Buddhists who lived more than 800 years ago in the region. Around 1200 AD, there used to be regular conflicts between them and Shaivites. The Buddhists were defeated and flayed to far off Southeast Asia, especially Burma and Cambodia. A few flayed interior and secretly practised their cult. Today I met their descendants at Maniabandha. Their religious practice is however much diluted and blended with the Jagannath cult. But one legacy they still carry is the craft of Ikat textile. Every household in the village has looms and it is the vibrant cottage industry there.
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