Rajasthan as a tourist destination has a vibrant history and culture to boast of, be it in their royal forts and palaces or their mystifying tribes spread over various regions. The tribes here are very different from each other and represent a very distinct heritage from the rest of the civilized population.
While Bhil and Mina are among the tribes to rule the land from as early as the beginning of mankind until 1400 BC when they were invaded by the Aryans. Eventually finding a retreat in the woods of southern and eastern Rajasthan. Eventually, a number of other tribes too, formed over the time.
Here are some of the characteristic tribes from Rajasthan:
Mainly residing in areas like Udaipur, Dungarpur and Chittorgarh; the Bhil tribe speaks Bhili language and even finds mention in mythological legends including Ramayana and Mahabharata. The tribe derives its name from the word ‘Bil’ meaning bow, which is supposed to be their key skill-set. At present, they account for 39% of the tribal population in Rajasthan.
Minas are easily the largest tribal group in Rajasthan spread over various regions in Rajasthan. The tribe derives its name from the word ‘Meen’, meaning fish, as the tribe claims to be the descendant of Lord Vishnu’s ‘Meen’ reincarnation (avatar). The tribe is specifically known for its peculiar physical attributes which includes a light brown complexion with a tall, athletic physique and sharp features.
Settled in Sirohi, Udaipur and Pali districts of Rajasthan, this tribe is also known as the fallen Rajputs of Rajasthan. The tribe is one of the minority tribes in Rajasthan and also has a peculiar tradition of marriage via elopement. Every year, there is a Gaur fair held during March where this tradition is followed.
Particularly found in western Rajasthan regions, the Bishnois are known as the followers of Guru Jambeshwar, a 15th century saint, and are known as conservators due to their extreme commitment to saving all plant and animal life. Generally identified with their white, big turbans and striking nose-rings, the Bishnois do not allow any felling or hunting in the area they occupy. They also hold a belief that the tribe people become a deer in their reincarnation.
The nomadic tribe finds its name from the amazingly pretty bullock carts (gadis) they use to travel from one place to another. The legend state that the tribe was originally Rajputs of Mewar who had sworn to go away from the city and come back only after the victory of Maharana Pratap, their then king.
This particular tribe belongs to a Muslim community and is also settled in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh apart from Rajasthan. Originally from the Bhil community, the tribe has emerged from those who eventually converted to Muslim religion.