India with its myriad culture has a unique demography.
Along with Africa, India has the largest tribal population in the world. There are around 533 different tribes, made up of more than 80 million tribals, representing almost 10% of India’s population. These tribal communities have unique cultures and many of them have successfully integrated themselves with the modern ethos.
Travel to these Places to get an insight into these Cultures
Nagaland in north East India is an unexplored and off-beat terrain for most tourists. With its unique topography and climate, you can surely see a different side of the country. Travel a few kilometers from Kohima to the far-off districts of Mon (renowned for having the last surviving head hunters) and Mokokchung where tourists will surely be fascinated by the tribal life.
Undertake an organized tour so you can travel to all the villages. The Hornbill Festival, held every December in the Kohima district, offers a popular tribal experience.
Orissa has a huge tribal population, numbering to almost 62. Most of them live in remote forests and hills. Tourists are recommended to undertake organized tours in the state as some of the areas are inhospitable, including linguistic problems. Puri is the best place to arrange tribal tours. Tours run for at least five nights/six days due to the amount of travel involved.
Chhattisgarh is predominately a tribal state and has a rich cultural history.The tribals are mostly Gonds, who live in the forest areas and are known for producing beautiful arts and crafts.
They are also known for their music and dance with unorthodox cultural and marriage practices.
One of them is where young men and women live together in groups in Ghotul huts and interact freely before getting married.
The Dusshera festival is one of the largest festivals celebrated here in a unique fashion. You can travel to the Royal Bastar Farm near Jagdalpur which forms part of a tribal village. You will get to interact closely with the tribes in their daily life.
Rajasthan has more than 15% tribal population. The Bhil tribe, the predominant group, were amongst the original inhabitants of Rajasthan. Located in southern Rajasthan, they have a unique style of living. Don’t miss the five day Baneshwar tribal fair held every January/February in Dungarpur. You can also celebrate the Holi festival in traditional style in Banswara with the Bhils.
Tourists will be able to see them in all their glory when they come out dressed in traditional clothing, carrying swords and sticks, performing the tribal dance of the region.
Another notable tribe are the Bishnois of Jodhpur. They are known for their reverence for nature and their belief in living in harmony with them. They even have a custom of burying the dead (instead of cremation like other Hindus) to preserve trees as wood is used in cremation process. Tourists can go on a Bishnoi Village Safari from Jodhpur. See the artisans such as weavers, potters and block printers, and spot wildlife when here.
One of the best places to stay are the Chhotaram Prajapat’s Homestay and Bishnoi Village camp and resort.
Maharashtra is home to almost 50 tribes, the majority ones being Bhils, Gonds, Mahadeo Kolis, Pawras, Thakurs and Warlis.
You can undertake organized tours by the Grassroutes, a community based rural tourism venture, which runs regular trips to Purushwadi village, home to the Mahadeo Koli tribe.
Most of the tribals are farmers who live in harmony with nature. With this tour, you can also stay with the tribal families and get to learn about the local culture.The Mahadeo Kolis are extremely warm and friendly people, and will happily continue their regular activities unmindful of visitors. Be sure to enjoy your stay.