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Folks of Rajasthan - High Spirited Rajasthani People

Rajasthan, a kaleidoscope of natural beauty and heritage, enjoys another jewel in its throne – the colourful and vibrant folk culture. Be it the art and craft or music and dance, these folk societies spread in the various parts of the state have left their mark in every field of Rajasthan's life and culture.
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Colours of the Rajasthani Folk
... Bishnois     ... Nomads     ... Trader    


The folks in Rajasthan are an ancient and a multi-communal society. There are about two hundred different ethnic groups. Each group has its own characteristic traits, distinguishing long-established social conventions, customs and practices.

Different Facets of the Folklore
In spite of this seemingly complexity of the ethos, a robust equilibrium in the inter-group relationship is maintained as they fully understand that each group is
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equally important to the other and has a role to play in the life of the rural community. Corrective remedies, therefore, always spring up almost by themselves to set right the conflicting situations that sometime arise. Whenever peace is disturbed by any predominant group or a powerful individual, who tries to swing the balance in selfish interest to the detriment of the weaker, the god- fearing village elders and the enlightened of the folks take up the cudgels to fight the wrong and restore harmony. The folks have an ancient system of community association called panchayat comprising panchas, five elders or most respectable persons, having jurisdiction over a village or a group of villages. Its main function is the maintenance of norms of social and religious behavior. It does not have any formal constitution but wields great authority. A session is called whenever there arises a need requiring its attention and decision.

Penalties are levied in the form of a mere reprimand to behave, a fine in the form of a community feast, and matters considered grave are penalized by outcasting the person for a certain period as a token of social disapproval of the violation of norms. Similar associations of individual communities also function as peace-keepers. The ancient jijmani system, when communities engaged in rendering various types of services, such as the Brahmins (Priest), Kumhars (Potters) Nais (Barbars), Dholis (Musician), etc., are traditionally attached to other communities in an intimate manner, also helps build up a healthy community life.

Various Folks Various Features
A number of folk culture, that have flourished in Rajasthan, have enriched the socio cultural weight of Rajasthan immensely. In every filed of Rajasthan, the folk culture has left its valuable impression refining it even further. Be it the dazzling folk dance or melody of 'sarangi', the folks of Rajasthan masters in every walk of life. The spectacular paintings, semi precious ornaments and multi-colour garments are also some examples of Rajasthani folk culture that make Rajasthan a shopping heaven too.

As We Peep Inside
Tour packages are arranged keeping the special requests made by the tourists in mind and you can discover the simple yet colourful life of the tribal and folk people. As you enter in their village, it seems like you are travelling in a time machine. The age old rituals and cultures of Bishnoi comminity, Bhils and Gravaria community will just amaze you. They are still following the traditions of their four fathers with respect and efficiency. The fast changing modern life has not touched them yet and they are happy with their age old customs. You will love to see a Gravaria man making rope, Bishnoi people doing day to day work and courageous Bhils playing with traditional arms. The beautiful ornaments of Bishnoi women will also attract you like anything, specially their huge nose rings telling the customs of their marriage clearly. Stand a while to see the craft of 'Kumhars' (Potter) creating magic with wet earth or visit a temple and see how the 'Brahmin' (Priest) is offering 'puja' with undivided devotion.

Apart from the tribes and rural people, Rajputs are the people, who dominate the society of Rajasthan. These affluent people enjoy the heritage of royalty and are famous for their courage, chivalry and etiquette. We are sure, in your Rajasthan trip, you will cherish the company of these blue-blooded elegant people immensely.

People with different background and tradition melt in a single pot of Rajasthan and the colour that emerges, paints your heart and soul equally. A special tour in the various parts of Rajasthan discovers the true beauty of its heritage and you never know when you fell in love with these innocent people.

Famous Folklore of Rajasthan
... Bishnois     ... Nomads     ... Trader    

Hot Tour Packages - Heritage Tour with Heritage Hospitality
Rajasthan is a land that stores all the colours of nature in it. Be it the heritage of royal dynasty or the fragrance of culture, the soil of Rajasthan is always filled with various hues and scent. Folk culture is another aspect of Rajasthan that attract tourists from all over the world making it famous for its unforgettable treasure of folklore. You may explore some more hidden aspects of the state other than its legacy or royalty and we can say for sure that it will engulf you alike.

The Rajputs
The Rajputs of Rajasthan, constituted a warrior aristocracy divided into a number of prominent clans, each of which regarded a princely state as its traditional patrimony, whose ruler was the social head of clan besides being the political ruler. Although the Rajputs never constituted more than a tenth of the total population, they have commanded the heights of the polity and the society in Rajasthan for nearly a thousand years.

The princely state of Jaipur was thus ruled by the Kachachawa Rajputs, the Rathors ruled in Jodhpur and Bikaner, the Hadas in Kota, and the Sisodia in Mewar (Udaipur).
While the Maharajas, Rajas and Thakurs had special courtiers, singers, hangers- on and other servants to entertain and serve them, the common Rajput was normally engaged in soldiering, agriculture and in certain cases, employment in the royal households of the former. However all Rajputs trace their ancestry to the ruling clans of the country. Their way of life is refined and courteous as well as abrasive and dominating compared to other simple classes and castes of rural Rajasthan. As the Rajputs are devotees of Durga (Mother-goddess), their common form of greeting each other is Jai mata ji ki (victory and praise be of the mother Durga) and among the Thakurs and the erstwhile Rajas, the form of greeting is Khama Ghani meaning, forgive and be praised.

The Brahmins
The Brahmins, who have commandeered the top social rung for themselves in the rest of the country though no less elevated in Rajasthan, found themselves at a status that was subservient to that of the Rajputs. It was perhaps natural: these kingdoms were often at war and the region was at the mercy of looters and invaders. Therefore, the total sovereignty of the Rajputs had to be accepted, if only for the protection that they were able to offer.

The Brahmins served in the royal courts and worked in departments of administration, though their main task was to administer the souls of the people they served. They were priests in the temples and performed the complex rituals of prayers to mollify the gods, a role the Rajputs often usurped, because unlike the Brahmins, they claimed a kinship with the very gods they offered their prayers to. Also,while brahminism exercised great orthodoxy, the Rajputs had their own precepts: they believed in animal sacrifices for their gods, a ritual that in other parts of the country would have been abhorred.

The Jats
The Jats also called as Choudhary, occupy a prominent position in Rajasthan being the largest group in this region. They are divided into 12 chief clans and about 230 minor gotras. Though the origin of the Jat tribe is shrouded in mystery, the Jats still betray tribal traits. Agriculture has always been the main occupation of the Jats but now they are branching out in other fields like military and police. They are also well represented in government civil services.

"Men may come and men may go, but I go on forever," is a well-known Jat proverb. They are brave, hardworking people who possess both the desire and ability to rule.Known for their military powers, many Jats were recruited into the British-India Army during World War I. Before that, they served as fighters in the Persian army. A large number of Jats serves in the Indian Armed Forces and form one of the largest ethnic groups in the army (The Jat Regiment).The Bharatpur, Deeg & Dholpur of Rajputana (Rajasthan) were had been ruled by Jat rulers.The Green Revolution brought considerable prosperity to the Jats in the late 60s and 70s.

Trader
Over a period of time, a greater influence in court came to be not the Brahmin priests, but members of the business community. Even though they formed a miniscule percent of the population, they controlled the economy to a large extent. While the Rajputs built their kingdoms on the basis of offering protection to the caravans that passed through their lands, the business communities saw in them the opportunity of extending their own trades. They were able to benefit from the peregrinations along both routes and their investments paid off. Later, when the overland trade routes dried up with the opening of the coastal sea routes to Gujarat, the business families shifted their base to new centres of trade and benefited from the dependence the English traders had to repose in them.more..

Nomads
For some communities, nomadic existence has been a way of life. These people travel in large groups, often on a cyclical, seasonal basis, as they move around providing their particular services for people in settled communities. This can range from lending a helping hand with sowing and harvesting to doing odd jobs, making or repairing agricultural implements, carrying and trading in grains, spices and dry fruits, to the minstrels whose job it was to inform and perform.more..

Bishnois
While the association of Rajasthan is always with its warriors, it cannot be denied that the nature of society has also been largely pastoral.The Bishnois are known as the conservationists to whom the preservation of animal and vegetable life is a religion and has been so from the early 15th century.more..

Muslim Settlers
Principally, the Muslims came to Rajasthan as invaders and therefore found little to entice them to stay here, though some of the settlers, such as the Kayamkhanis of Shekhawati Region and the Meos of Mewat Region (Alwar), have been associated with agricultural practices, especially in the Shekhawati belt where the Kayamkhani nawabs also wielded considerable influence. Over the centuries, there wer only two Muslim kingdoms that arose in Tonk & Loharu of Rajputana (Rajasthan ). The Muslims also served in the Rajput court and there was no attempt to subvert each other's religious sentiments. In fact, the Muslim settlers came to share many of the rituals and festivals of their Rajput neighbours. However, there is reason to believe that the majority of the Muslims - there is a significant population in Rajasthan - were artisans who were simply kidnapped from the various trading caravans, since their skilled services were highly desired in the princely kingdoms.Then, as now, they have proved to be mastercraftsmen, especially in the fields of painting, dyeing, printing, bangle making, jewellery making and paper manufacture. The Bohras, a community of mercantile Muslims also have a sizeable presence in Udaipur .

Schedule Castes

The Bhands
The Bhands are noted for their skillful use of satire, ridicule and sarcasm in exposing and attacking vices and follies of people. Masters of repartee, they have the ability to retort with immediate wit and humour, and hold a highly scintillating conversation.

The Bhambis
The Bhambis are also known as the Meghwals. Traditionally, they are associated with the profession of village watchmen, guides and messengers and also skinners of dead animals. They are now mostly working as agricultural labourers.

The Kolis
The Koli community is said to be one of the original dwellers of the countryside in Rajasthan and their traditional occupation is weaving.

The Harijans
The Harijans also called as Mehater are sweepers.

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