In first-of-its kind event, over 100 tribal girls participated in "Adi Rani' 2018, Kalinga Tribal Queen Contest" held in Odisha's Bhubaneswar on Sunday evening. The unique contest is aimed at showcasing the rich tribal culture and tradition of India and is supported by Schedule Caste and Schedule Department, Government of Odisha and the State Tourism Department.
Representing various tribes from around the country, 20 girl contestants walked the ramp at Utkal Mandap in the final round.
"We have created history today by conducting a national level programme highlighting tribal cultures of our country," said Dr Chidatmika Khatua, Chief Secretary General of the award committee.
"A 'rani' or a 'queen' is not just about beauty. Usually, when we talk about tribes, we represent them through their dance or art form. Through this contest, we have tried to give them their individual identity," Dr Khatua added.
A semi-final round was held on June 20 where the contestants were selected for the finals. For semi-finals, the community leaders from each tribe sent one entry for the semi-finale round.
For the finale, the girls dressed up in their traditional attire, walked the ramp. This was followed by an introduction and question-answers round. There was also a talent round where the girls were exhibited their singing, acting and dancing talents.
Pallavi Durua from Koraput district was crowned as the winner of the Tribal Queen Contest. Panchami Majhi was chosen as the first runners-up while Rashmirekha Hasdah bagged the second runners-up position.
"Many tribal girls like me are not allowed to move around or study. After winning this crown, I hope I can be an example for others and they would shed the superstitions and face the world," said Ms Durua after winning the contest. She further said that she would advise other tribal girls to pursue higher education instead of working as a labourer.
Apart from crowning of the winners, special awards were also given in seven different categories - tribal attire, photogenic face, best skin, best personality, best presentation of ornaments, best presentation of own culture and best in talent.
The jury had guests from national and state-level, headed by Padmashree Tulasi Munda, the ambassador of the event.
(With Inputs From ANI)