It was clear that I was looking at something that I did not have a complete grasp of. The structure in the middle of the village was important: it was the middle after all, and it was isolated from the huts around it. There was even a nice little modern Hindu temple which kept its distance. And, more than anything else, right next to this structure was a really tall tree, stripped of everything but the leaves right at the top. This was the tallest structure in the village.
There were a couple of older men nearby, but they spoke a thick dialect of Hindi which I couldn’t quite follow. My only source of information was Dev, who is from the region, but who tended to oversimplify things for me. He said it was a temple, and the tall pole was a tree which was brought and planted into the ground here once every year. He pointed out the previous year’s tree which was lying at the edge of the green. Dev was a little vague about the nature of the deity. “Local god,” he explained. He was even more vague about the significance of the tree. Not being of the village, it is possible that he knew of the rituals, but not the reason they were performed.
The temple was built on a sturdy platform at about the height of my head. Stairs showed that the entrance was from the direction of the red-roofed shed. Above the entrance was the emblem of the snake which you see in the featured photo. That indicated that this could indeed be dedicated to a local god, with a very local significance. The pillars which held up the roof were nicely carved, and had been painted not too far back. Dev had wandered off. I was quite alone here, and lost, with no idea what this was about. As you can imagine, there is nothing on the web about it either.