ABOUT CHHATTISGARH TRIBES
Chhattisgarh tribal informations
There are many types of tribals in India, and Chhattisgarh is home to many of them. In fact, the state has India's oldest tribal communities, and it is safe to assume that the earliest tribals have been living in Bastar for over 10,000 years.
The main tribes in Chhattisgarh are:
Bastar - Gond, Abujmaria, Bisonhorn Maria, Muria, Halba, Bhatra, Parja, Dhurvaa,
Dantewara - Muriya, Dandami Mariya or Gond, Dorla, Halba
Koriya - Kol, Gond, Bhunjia
Korba - Korwa, Gond, Rajgond, Kawar, Bhaiyana, Binjwar, Dhanwar
Bilaspur and Raipur - Parghi, Savra, Manji, Bhayna
Gariabandh, Mainpur, Dhura, Dhamtari - Kamar
Surguja and Jashpur - Munda
Each of these has its own rich (and distinctive) history and culture of music, dance, dress and food. What's common to all is a simple, basic, in-tune-with-nature way of life that has changed little over centuries because it works so well. Marriages tend to take place within the tribe. Both burial and cremation are used for the dead, but since cremation involves multi-day rituals, which are expensive, it is not so common. Important elders, though, are always cremated.
INFORMATIONS ABOUT CHHATTISGARH TRIBES
Tribal village of ChhattisgarhA visit to a tribal village for a taste of life as it once was, is a must - an overnight stay can be arranged on special request. These villages are immaculately clean, and have winding mud roads running through them. Typically, tribal houses are made entirely of mud with thatched or red tiled roofs. Each village tends to specialise in a particular kind of handicraft - pottery, bell-metal work, iron work. It is useful to take a guide who knows and respects the tribes. Just avoid going when there is a haat on nearby, as the village empties out on those days. The tribals are a bit shy, but friendly - they are as curious about you as you are about them! They will welcome your interest, so long as you do not treat them as exotic exhibits. So, smiling, asking questions about local customs, appreciating their crafts and culture is perfectly acceptable, gawping, clicking pictures without permission and doling out money is not.
Dance of Tribes of ChhatisgarhDances are the chief amusement of the tribals. Like all folk dances, they are community affairs, characterized by robustness and earthiness. All the dances are group dances involving complex footwork, and they are wonderful to watch! The dancers are usually in a line, gyrating in a circle, always in the anti-clock direction.The most spectacular dances are those of the Maria tribes. The men lace a strip of cloth round their torso, wear head-dresses of peacock and cock feathers, and tie bells around their wrists and ankles. Some also wear stag and bison horns on the head.In the case of the Bison-horn Marias, the boys and girls dance in separate sub-groups, with the steps of the girls being simpler. Drum-beats are central to the dance.In the case of the Hill-Marias, the group is often mixed, with a girl between two boys. The men wear heavy buttock-bells. Singing is important in these dances.
Chhattisgarh tribals jewelleryBoth men and women wear ornaments - in fact, at celebrations, it is the men who are more gaily bedecked! Most of the ornaments are made of beads (made from bones, seeds, wood) worn as laces, ropes, fillets and collars. Earlier, iron, brass and copper wires were into armlets; today, silver and gold are used. Gold is worn mainly on the ear, nose and neck (men wear gold collars to indicate their standing in the village), not on the hands and legs. Silver is worn on the neck (as a hoop); on the wrist (as a loose, hollow, twisted tubular bracelet); on the legs (as a solid, square-bar anklet, arched below the ankle-bones). Conical twin-tops are common in the nostrils and ear lobes. Rings are worn on the helix of the ear.
Precious stones are not very popular, but when used, red and green stones are preferred, mainly because of their bright colours.
Tassels of red wool are still worn by both men and women of the Hill-Maria tribe.You can buy tribal ornaments and combs from any of the major haat bazars as well as in the jewelry showrooms in the towns of Jagdalpur, Kanker and Kondagaon.
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