TRIBALS OF DANTEWADA
Southern Chhattisgarh is considered to be the place of one of the oldest human settlements, some parts still almost untouched by modern lifestyle. The tribal people have their own rules and regulations, which are very different from the modern societies. Their attire and jewellery are also unique and colorful. The tribes in this region are known for their unique culture and traditional living style. They live in their own small world with honest smiling faces. Each tribe has their own dialect and differs from each other the way they dress, their language, life style, celebration and ritual, etc. However, they live in complete harmony and worship the trees to protect the forest.
The major tribes found in Dantewada region are the Gond, Maria and Dorla. The Gond tribe predominates the forests of Dantewada. Some believe that they are the oldest tribe of the world. The Gonds are uniquely known in India due to their Ghotul system of marriage. The Ghotul system is related to Goddess Lingopan. Gonds are the largest tribe in terms of population.They mainly practice Hindu customs and marry within the family. Gond society is matriarchal where the groom pays dowry to the bride to pay due respects.
The word Madia/Maria originated from the word Mad of Gondi dialect which means hills. Thus, Madia/Maria are the people who live in the hills. They usually have coppery complexion with straight black hair, wide mouth and thick lips. The women are graceful, light in complexion and wear exotic jewellery made of canes, grass and bead.
The people of Dolra tribe are mainly found in the south of Dantewada region and their dialect, Dorli, is influenced by the Telegu language. Dorla community has affinity with cows and pays much respect to deity Bheema Dev.
The economy and livelihood of the tribal people is dependent mainly on forests produce like Tamarind, Mahua, Wood, etc. Apart from forest produce, the tribal people also earn little livelihood from works like hunting, fisheries and cottage industries. They live in small villages with special skills which they pass down to their generation and use plants and herbs for curing and medicinal purposes.
Tribal markets offer a unique and fun way to experience the tribal culture and lifestyle. Weekly markets are held in every village wherein small to big stuffs are sold by the tribes in order to earn a living.Tribal markets are a unique blend of rural and urban, traditional and modern. It gives a glimpse of colourful lives of the tribal people where everything considered significant in tribal life is available - from vegetables, forest produce, daily use items, jewellery, to the famous Chapra Chatni or Red Ants Chatni, local delicacies, and local alcoholic beverages like Salfi, Rice Bear and Mahua.
The famous Cock fights are also a regular scene to watch in tribal markets.
Tribal people have their own festivals and unique ways of celebrating those festivals. Attending their festivals is definitely once-in-a-lifetime experience which should not be missed. During the fastivals, tribals from nearby villages celebrate together as part of a big family. Dance is an inseparable part of the tribal lifestyle. Use of colorful costumes, ornaments and head gear are important characteristics of the tribal dance. To add more charm, gungroos and bells are tied to the body which creates a musical sound. The major festivals in the region are Bastar Dusshera, Fagun Madai, Navakhani, and AamaKhani.