Amazing Facts About India’s Oldest Tribal Life

In India, Chhattisgarh is a popular destination for tourists to see the lifestyle and culture of various tribes that go back several thousand years without much change. During my two day stay, I was mesmerized and amazed by learning about some of India’s oldest tribes like Bison Horn Maria, Baiga, Korba, Halbaa, Bhatra and Dhurvaa.


(Photo courtesy Retlaw Snellac)
My tourist guide took me to various places to see the lifestyle of these ancient tribes. I am amazed to see and learn that each tribe have been living their life without change for several centuries. Each tribe uses their own language and dialect to communicate among themselves and has their own culture that is different from other tribes. Most of the tribal men and women wear various colorful ornaments like bronze, copper, beads, shells, bones, and feathers that all gleam in the sun. The women have cloth headbands wrapped around their foreheads, and the men don bandanas around their foreheads, with pink pom-poms draped around their necks.  Some tribal women have numerous piercings on their ears and a patterned tattoo on their faces.

During my overnight stay in a village, I learned that these tribal people believe that inanimate objects have a spirit in them. They worship representations of animals, birds, the mountains, the sky, the earth and trees. They view this world as split into three parts; the sky is the upper world that is considered to be the gods; the Earth is the middle world which is inhibited by supernatural beings; and under the earth is the lower world where dead people reside.

All the tribal villages have various woodwork that portrays their culture, heritage, and history. The wood carvings depict all parts of the tribal life. The tribal people artfully transform wood into various tapestries engraved with complex patterns, fishes, elephants, snakes, and dancing women to showcase their cultural tradition and history. Many tribes worship these wooden carvings because it symbolizes their faith in the gods, spirit, and heaven. They also have various paintings on walls, painted with hues of orange, brown, and blue. It is intriguing to see how these tribes use the walls to paint animals, birds, dancing women, and their ancestral heroes.

Throughout my journey I found that all the tribal people live in dense forests that are surrounded by towering trees, curled plants, wild flowers and sweet smelling herbs. Just by walking in the forest you can taste the herbal smell in the air. The tourist guide told me that many of these tribes use various herbs, plants, and leaves to treat their ailments. After I returned from the tribal region, I found that these tribes in Chhattisgarh use various medicinal plants to treat diseases like malaria, cancer and other various infectious diseases.

I could not visit some of the tribal villages, as my tourist guide warned that these tribes do not entertain outsiders coming into their villages and they may use bows and arrows to kill the outsiders. But most of the tribes are peace loving and friendly people who gladly shared their life stories with me. It was truly an enriching and human experience for me to see the tribal culture and heritage. I thought that two days would be enough for me to learn about Chhattisgarh’s tribal life-but I found that I need more than a week to learn even the basics about these wonderful tribal people and their rich, colorful culture.

Chhattisgar tribal pictures
(Photo courtesy Retlaw Snellac)

Author: Editorial Team

Spice Flair Editorial Team

Comments

  1. Good Info says:

    Nice info. I did not realize that India has tribes living there. It is indeed amazing facts to know about.

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