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 BANJARA TRIBES

 History 

Banjaras are innumerable nomadic tribes found in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha and West Bengal wandering from one place to another and leading a life in its own terms and conditions. The banjara tribes are believed to be descendants of the Roma gypsies of Europe who migrated through the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, to settle down in the deserts of Rajasthan and many other states in India 2300 years ago. Banjara Tribe is very famous in whole India as they occupy most of the states in India. Their way of living is quite thrilling and full of adventures. They are known for their colourful costumes. Vibrant colours of cloths with lots of accessories comes to our mind when we hear about Banjaras, the enthusiastic tribe of India.

Banjara Women's dressing is the most colourful and elaborate among the other tribal communities in India. They are accustomed to wearing the costumes of "ghaghra" and "choli"(a blouse). Ghaghra is a skirt made of red, black and white cotton, embellished with pieces of mirrored glass that are embroidered on it.Banjara women wear a full length skirt with borders embroidered in mustard and green thread. They also wear pretty silver anklets. Silver, brass, gold, cowries, ivory, animal bone and even plastic are used in making a Banjara wardrobe.

 Culture 

Banjaras worship Goddess of prosperity Lakhsmi. Hundreds of cowries that the Banjara tribal women wear are much very auspicious as they represent Goddess Lakshmi. Andhra Pradesh Banjara Tribe celebrate Holi. A variety of dance forms are performed during the festival. Banjara tribes in Odisha are huge devotees of Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati. Love and dedication flourishes to such extent that, they save money from their living to visit the Tirupati Balaji Temple. Marriage is something to look forward for vibrant tribe of Odisha. Liquor flows freely on the first day of the wedding when the bridegroom and the relatives are welcomed at the `tanda` of the bride.

Banjaras give royal welcome to the groom`s family by offering betel leaves and nut. On the day of marriage, boy and girl exchange seven round balls made of rice, ghee and sugar as this is the special thing of a Banjara Wedding. Then the couple hold hands and does seven rounds of grain pounding with pestles. Square silver ornament bottu is tied round the neck of the bride. The grooms' family is given a good feast. There is a band of material tied around the waist that strengthens a skirt or trousers.

They believe that death is a universal phenomenon that all living things have to die one day and they are aware of the fact. The death of old of persons is taken good because their old transformed into new ones or they get salvation. In their community premature death is not good as they occur due to accident, murder, suicide, burning, etc. As the unnatural deaths are main reasons that souls of person become malevolent spirits. The dead people become dissatisfied and wander causing harm to pregnant women, children, brides and grooms according to their beliefs.

 Occupation 

The occupation of Banjars are gathering of forest products and agriculture. These tribes are experts in traditional hand embroidery with mirror works. Artwork of Banjara Tribes has got a good demand in the market in the various states of India. Articles made of materials like silver, brass, gold , cowries , ivory , animal bone and even plastic décor the wardrobes of fashionable urbanities.
Place /Location (then and now)
Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha and West Bengal
Population
3 - 4 million
Languages spoken
Telugu, Urdu & Lamani
Gods
Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Venkateshwara
Food
Non-Vegetarian

Food

Food of Banjara is Bati which is Roti. Daliya is a dish cooked using many cereals (wheat , jawar). Banjara people are very much fascinated and like non-vegetarian food. Saloi (made from goat blood and other parts of goat) is non vegetarian dish made especially by Banjara People. Banjaras prefer eating spicy food.

 Language 

Banjaras have different names such as Lamani, Lambadi, Bangala, Banjori, Banjuri, Gohar-Herkeri, Goola, Gurmarti, Kora, Labhani Muka, Lambara, Lavani, Lemadi, Lumadale, Sugali, Tanda, Vanjari, Waji, Gormati and Singali. They speak Lamani language. Famous language spoken among the Banjaras like Urdu & Telugu. Kutni is too popular amongst a section of Banjara tribes.

 Festivals 

Ugadi is the most famous festival celebrated by Banjara tribes of India. They also celebrate Holi and Dusshera and even they have some folk festivals which they celebrate with great enthusiasm. They consider Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati as their family deity. Banjaras have a good habit to save a lot of money so that they can go to Piligrimage to the temple of Lord of seven hills popularly known as Balaji temple.

 


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