“Tribal” is the word used in India to refer to inhabitants known elsewhere as “indigenous”. British ethnographers classified tribal’s as “animists”. As per the National Census, they are classified as “aboriginals” and listed according to the tribe. The Hindi word for tribal is adivasi, meaning “ancient inhabitants.”

Chhattisgarh is home to many of tribes. In fact, the state has India’s oldest tribal communities, and it is safe to assume that the earliest tribal’s have been living in Bastar for over 10,000 years, since the time the Aryans occupied the Indian mainland and the rich plains became

(a) War-infested and
(b) De-forested for agriculture.

The main tribes in Chhattisgarh are:

  1. Bastar – Gond, Abujmaria , Bisonhorn Maria, Muria, Halba, Bhatra, Parja, Dhurvaa
  2. Dantewara – Muriya, Dandami Mariya or Gond, Dorla, Halba
  3. Koriya – Kol, Gond, Bhunjia
  4. Korba – Korwa, Gond, Rajgond, Kawar, Bhaiyana, Binjwar, Dhanwar
  5. Bilaspur and Raipur – Parghi, Savra, Manji, Bhayna
  6. Gariabandh, Mainpur, Dhura, Dhamtari – Kamar
  7. Surguja and Jashpur – Munda

Each of these has its own rich (and distinctive) history and culture of music, dance, dress and food. What’s common to all is a simple, basic, in-tune-with-nature way of life that has changed little over centuries because it works so well.