Tribes of India and their culture and lifestyle

The tribes of India are faction which contains a unique and authentic cultural, political, and social entity. They are also called Adivasi. Adivasi is a collective term for Indian tribes. They have distinctive languages and speaking aspects. The way they live and their physical features are quite different. The nature of Indian tribes has changed considerably over the centuries, but certain characteristics have remained. Some of the important names of the tribes of India are Gonds Tribes, Bhils Tribes, Santhal Tribes, Great Andamanese Tribes, Khasi Tribes, Garo Tribes, Angami Tribes, and the Munda Tribes.

The tribes hold 8.2% of India’s total population. India has the largest number of tribes compared to other countries. There are many species and an assortment of tribal groups in India. Researchers said that there are 460 tribal communities. Constitution of India has comprehended Indian Tribe under ‘Schedule 5’ of the constitution and has accepted them as ‘Scheduled Tribes’.


The term “Adivasi” comes from the Hindi word ‘adi’ which means from the beginning and ‘vasi’ means inhabitant. Do you know which language Adivasi used to speak? The Santali Language. They are very close to nature, mountains, forests, and hilly. Their main occupation is farming, fishing, and collecting forest produce. Adivasi depends on forests for their livelihood. They are also good at hunting and gathering emergency supplies.

If you think Adivasi are only Hindu then no, you are partially wrong. Tribes of India are Christians, Muslims, or Buddhists also but the large majority is Hindu. The Sarnia Adivasi once demanded not to count as Hindus in the census, so they are called Sarna. Sarna Adivasi is inhabited by the Chhota Nagpur region. The costumes of Adivasis varies depending on their religion, custom and traditional beliefs. They also wear different types of ornaments and clothing which is a symbol of identification of their tribal culture.

Different tribes of India

There are about 550 tribes in India. Each having its own unique lifestyle. Some of the major tribes are:

Gonds Tribe

gond tribe

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Do you know which community is the largest tribe in India? The Gonds Tribe is a group of aboriginal peoples of central and south-central India. They are sprints of hunter-gatherers who practice agriculture and religious activity. Gonds Tribes usually have a forest-dwelling lifestyle. Their main occupation is agriculture labouring. They also go fishing and hunting for enhancing their income. Gonds are always famous for their courage and bravery.

They live mainly around Central India in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa. Southern Chhattisgarh is the home of three important Gond tribes likes the Muria, the Bisonhorn Maria, and the Hill Maria. The Gond tribes can speak Telugu, Hindi, Marathi, Parsi, and many other Dravidian languages. The population of the Gond tribe is 1.67 lakh approximately.

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There is no widow in the Gond tribe as they follow the tradition of remarrying them so that the woman does not have to face the evils and the bad circumstances of the society.

Bhil Tribe


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The term Bhil is emanated from the Dravidian language “Veel” which means “bow”. Therefore, the Bhil tribe’s people are called “Dhanush Purush of India” because they are good Dhanush learners. The Bhils have long paid tribute to Hindu gods such as Maha Dev, Parvati, and the monkey god Hanuman. Ma Kali is cherished by the casualty of goats and male buffaloes. In the Bhil tribe, most of them are farmers, agricultural labourers and skilled sculptors. They are fabulous archers with wide knowledge about their geography area.

Bhil Tribe painting at Walters Museum, USAA

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The painting of Bhil Tribe is kept at Walters Museum, USA. Here, you can see that a woman throws light on the deers which mesmerize them.

Was this a giant torch? Did ancient Indians know about this also?

There are so many facts and science in our tradition. Know the science and facts behind some superstitions in India because as we say Sanatan Dharma is based on science only…

The Bhil tribes mainly speak Gujarati, Rajasthani–Marwari, Kalto, and Nahali, language. The Bhil women’s outfits are traditional saris and men’s are long frock and pyjamas. They live in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan as well as in Tripura in far-eastern India.

Do you know?

The Ghoomar, which is a traditional folk dance of Rajasthan, has come from the Bhil tribe. Interestingly, during marriages, it is the men who have to pay a dowry of sorts (10 goats) to be able to marry an eligible woman!

Learn more about the classical dance forms of India

 Santhal Tribe

Santhal tribe

Santhal tribes are a racial group of eastern India. They are also called Manjhi. There are approximately a million Santhal tribes in the 21st century. They are the native of Nepal and eastern India. Their favourite food is Pahariya food which includes rice, watery potato gravy and watery pulses with salt and chilly to improve the taste. Santals are also good hunter-gatherers and clear forests for agriculture. They live as acquaintances of other communities maintaining cultural and social distancing with them. The Santhal tribes believe in the Goddess of Santhal Marangburu, Jaheraera, and Manjhi. They believe in the Sarna religion.

Santals tribes are one of the economically poor communities of India. The Santhal Tribes are the largest and one of the stalest tribes of India. They live in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Odisha and West Bengal.

Nomadic Tribe

Nomadic tribe

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Nomadic tribes of India are people who move from one place to another. They don’t live in one place for a long time. They usually have a bunch of cattle that move around with themselves. As they don’t have permanent settlements they make temporary houses. The life of the Nomadic tribes of India is very tough they have a limited amount of resources. Even the place where they live is quite dangerous. A nomad is a member of a community that includes hunter-gatherers, clerical owning livestock, and nomads. They usually eat predominantly milk products and meat. They use milk of sheep, goats, yaks, and camel to make butter, yoghurt and qurut.

Khasi Tribe

khasi tribe

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The Khasi tribe of India people of an indigenous racial group of Meghalaya in north-eastern India borders of Assam, and parts of certain Bangladesh. Like the other tribes in North-East India Khasis tribes also use fermented rice beer. It is used in every ceremonial and religious occasion. The main occupation of Khasis tribes is  JHUM, which means shifting cultivation for their survival. There are more than 100 Khasi tribe’s villages in India. They mainly do farming and grow betel palm. The Khasi people mostly eat bread consisting of rice and meat-based curries. They also eat chicken, fish, beef, and lamb. There are seven groups namely War, Jaintia, Lyngngam, Maram, Diko, Khyriem and Bhoi in the Khasi tribe.

Do you Know?

Ficus Elastica

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The roots of the Ficus elastica tree are strong enough to be able to support the weight of fifty people at the same time. The Khasi people saw this and now whenever they need to cross a river, they simply grow their bridges! 

Kurumbar Tribe

Kurumbar tribe

Kurumbar tribe is a stipulated and scheduled Tribe of South India. They are the occupants of the Western Ghats. The people of the Kurumbar tribe survived by hunting and gathering, agriculture, or as slaves. They usually collect forest produce, primarily wild honey and wax. Traditionally, the main occupation is snake-catching, rat-catching and honey collection. They work as labourers in the fields during the sowing and harvesting seasons. Today, some Kurumbar tribes of India are field labourers who market forest produce. Kurumbar anticipates Hinduism. The main god is Lord Shiva under the name of Bhairava. They also worship animals, birds, rock hillocks, trees, and snakes. Kurumbar group’s people are generally cut off from each other. They are a headman who handles disputes. There are three categories of Kurumbar. Those are Jenu, Betta and Alu. Each category speaks the Dravidian language.

Garos Tribes

Garos tribe

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The Garos tribes are an indigenous Tibeto-Burman racial tribe of India located in central India in the states of Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, and the boundaries of Bangladesh.

The Garos tribes can also be called A·chiks. They are the second-largest tribe in Meghalaya. They are the dominant tribe and have a strong notion coming from Tibet. The Garos are very good at the Sino-Tibetan language. The ancestral dress of the Women is Dakmanda and Dakshari. But today in the modern age they wear jeans, Sari, T-shirts, pyjamas.

The Garos tribe’s jewellery is very eye-catching. Both men and women wear adorning ornaments like ‘Namade’ of a brass ring worn in the lobe of the ear, ‘Nadirong’ worn in the upper ear, ‘Jaksan’ bangles of numerous materials, ‘Ripok’ necklaces made of long barrel-shaped driblet of cornelian, ‘Jaksil’ elbow ring in Gana ceremonies, ‘Penta’ a small piece of ivory in ears and

‘Seng·ki’ a waistband consisting of several rows of conch shells. Their staple cereal food is rice but also eat cows, goats, pigs, fowls, ducks. They eat other wild animals like deer, bison.

Read about healthy eating habits of India

Munda Tribe

Munda tribe

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The Munda tribes are a racial tribal group in the Chota Nagpur Plateau region. They are categorized as Scheduled Tribe by the Constitution of India. The Mundas are found in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh & Orrisa. They are mainly hunters and farmers employed in basketwork and weaving. The Mundas tribe of India worship ‘mahua’ and ‘kadamba’ trees. They speak Munda languages, also known as ‘Kolarian’.They eat vegetables and pulses. The poor Mundas eat rice with green leaf. The Munda tribe’s Dance is very popular. This dance is generally performed to celebrate weddings. Munda people’s songs are mixed with songs of other tribal languages. Munda Rebellion is one of the well-known 19th-century tribal rebellions in India led by Birsa Munda, the leader of the movement. 


Tribes of India and their culture is a mythical form of human social organization. They have political integration, traditions of plunge, language and ideology. In the past, many tribal groups forced on the dominant culture of India. People loved the way tribes develop their economies. The wide range of activities, agriculture and mining empress tourists. Once in your lifetime, everyone should explore the tribes of India.



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