Rajasthan's population includes many
tribals like the Bhils and the Minas. But they were forced
into the Aravalli Range by the Aryan invasion. Smaller tribes
include the Sahariyas, Garasias etc.
The tribes share common traits, which seem to link their past
together but it is the differences in their costumes and
jewellery, fair and festivals that set them apart from one
The Bhils compromise 39% of Rajasthan's
tribal population. Their stronghold is Banswara. The generic
term derives from Bhils, which describe their original talent
and strength. The Bhils maintained their numbers by mingling
with rebellious outcaste Rajputs.
According to legends, the Bhils were fine archers. Bhil bowmen
are mentioned in both the Mahabarata and Ramayan. They were
highly regarded as warriors and the Rajput rulers relied on
them. Although originally food gatherers, the Bhils these days
have taken up small-scale agriculture, city residence and
The Baneshwar fair is a Bhil festival held near Dungarpur in
January/February each year and large number of Bhils gather
for several days for singing, dancing and worshipping. Holi is
another important time for Bhils. Witchcraft magic and
superstition are deeply rooted aspects of the Bhil culture.