Important Historical Sculpture/Tribes in India, Their festivals, and Culture

17th Sept 2021


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Important Historical Sculpture and Paintings
         Famous Sculpture/                             PaintingEra/ Dynasty     Monument
  Bodhisattva PadmapaniGupta PeriodAjanata
  Mahakapi JatakaSungaBharhut stupa
  Torso of VishnuGupta PeriodMathura
  Stupa worshipMauryan/Sunga periodBharhut stupa
  YakshiniMauryan/Sunga periodBharhut stupa
  Queen Maya’s dreamMauryan/Sunga periodBharhut stupa
  Painting of Yashodahara,Rahul & buddhaGupta PeriodAjanata
  Standing BuddhaGupta PeriodSarnath
  Seated BuddhaKushanasMathura
  Standing BuddhaKushanasGandhara
  Mara VijayaMultiple periodAjanta
  MaheshmurthiRashtrakuta PeriodElephanta caves
  Shiva chasing boarVijaynagara PeriodLepakshi temple
  Shiva killing Tripurasura Thanjavoor
  DakshinamurthyVijaynagara PeriodLepakshi temple
  Ladies attending ParvathyVijaynagara PeriodLepakshi temple
  Krishna playing the flute Pundareekapuram temple
  Sheshashayana VishnuGupta PeriodDashavtar temple
  Vishnu in Nara-Narayan formGupta PeriodDashavtar temple
  Arjun PenancePallavasMahabalipuram
  Statue of SuparshvanathaPallavas 
  Statue of Gommateshwara,Ganga DynastyShravanbelagola, Karnataka
  YakshiMauryan PeriodDidarganj
  Durga with eight arms shown in the act of defeating Mahishasura,PallavasMahishasura Mardini Cave, Mahabalipuram
  Ravana Shaking Mount KailashaRashtrakutaEllora
  Nandi bullCholasBrihadeshwara temple
  Kalyana Sundara MurthyRashtrakutaEllora
  NayikaGanga DynastyLingraj temple
  NatarajaCholasBrideshwar temple
  Manjira playerGanga DynastySurya Mandir,Odhisa
  MohiniHoysalasChennakeshava temple
  Pillars with horse riderNaykasMeenakshi temple
  Worship of Bodhi treeMauryan PeriodBharhut
  Animals worshipping Bodhi treeSungasSanchi
  Taming of Nalagiri elephantMauryan PeriodAmravati
  Head of BuddhaKushanasGandhara
  Seated BuddhaKushanasMathura
  Dwarfish Yaksha Pithalkoda caves
  Five RathaPallavasMahabalipuram
  VrikshikaSungaSanchi Stupa
  Buddha’s Great departureKushanasGandhara
  Indra flying amid clouds together with celestial nymphsGupta PeriodAjanta
The following table contains the tribes in India, significant aspects of their life, and festivals they celebrate.
 Name of the tribeStates/ RegionSignificant aspects related to the tribeFestivals
 MundaChota Nagpur Plateu1.Christianity is their main religion.
2..They speak Mundari which is austro-asiatic Language.
Main festivals of Munda tribe are Mage Parab , Ind-Parab Jom-Nagoa or Jom Nawa ,Batauli ,Kolom Sing ,Phagu Festival ,Sarhul or Ba Parab ,Karam and Sohrai Festival
 SanthalsWest Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and Assam.1.Santhals are the third largest tribe in India.
2.Santhals speak Santhali, which belongs to the Austro- Asiatic language family. Santhals have their script called Olchiki, which was developed by Dr Raghunath Murmu in 1925.
3.Santhals have no temples of their own. They even do not worship any idols. Santhals follow the Sarna religion.
Santhals mainly celebrate the Karam festival which falls in the month of September and October
 AngamiNagaland1.Men wear shawls called white Mhoushu and the black Lohe. The women wear Mechala – the wrap around skirt and shawls of unique designs and patterns
2.Christianity is the major religion followed among the Angami tribal people
3.Angamis are quite popular for their woodcraft and artwork.
Sekrenyi is the main festival celebrated among the Angamis in Nagaland.
 BhilsThe central Bhils are found in the mountain regions in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujrat and Rajasthan. Bhils are also found in the north eastern parts of Tripura.1.Religion practice among the Bhils differ from place to place. Most of them worship local deities like Khandoba, Kanhoba, Bahiroba, and Sitalmata. Some of the worship Tiger God called ‘vaghdev’. They have no temples of their own.
2.Ghoomar is the most famous dance among the Bhils.
3.Than Gair is the religious dance drama performed by the men in the month of Sharavana (July and August)
The Baneshwar fair is the main festival celebrated among the Bhils. This fair is held during the period of Shivatri (in the month of January or February) and is dedicated to Baneshwar Mahadev also known as Lord Shiva. On this occasion Bhils gather all together set up camps on the banks of the Som and Mahi river.
 ChenchusChenchu inhabit in the Nallamalai hills, which have been the part of the Nagarjuna Sagar Tiger Sanctuary for centuries in Andhra Pradesh India.1.Chenchus talk in Chenchu language with the Telgu accent. Their language is also known as Chenchucoolam, Chenchwar, Chenswar or Choncharu.
2.Chenchus worship number of deities. They mainly believe in Bhagaban taru who lives in the sky and look after the Chenchus in all their doings. Another deity they worship is Garelamai Sama, who is the Goddess of forest.
 KhasisKhasi tribe is mainly found in the sate of Assam and the Khasi Jaintia hills in Meghalaya1.Khasis speak Khasi, which is an Austro- Asiatic language. It is the part of the Mon-Khmer group of languages.
2.Khasis have a matriachal society.
3.Most of the Khasis follow Christianity as the religion. The Khasi believe in the supreme creator God U Blei Nong-thaw.
Nongkrem is the major festival celebrated among the Khasis.
 BhuthiasBhutia tribes are of the Tibetan origin. They migrated to Sikkim around 16th century. In the northern part of the Sikkim where they are the major inhabitants, they are known as the Lachenpas and Lachungpas. Majority of the Bhutias are concentrated in the dry valley of the North Sikkim.1.Bhutia tribes usually speak Sikkimese.
2.The legal system among the Bhutias is termed as the Dzumsa, which means the rendezvous point of the common masses.
3. Bhutia male wear Bakhu which is a loose traditional dress with the full sleeves. While the women dress consists of Silken Honju, which is the full sleeves blouse
Losar and Losoong are the main festivals celebrated among the Bhutia tribes.
 GondsThe Gonds are the tribal community mostly found in the Gond forests of central India. They are widely spread in the Chhindwara District of Madhya Pradesh1.Gonds tribe speak Gondi language which is related to the Telgu and the other Dravidian languages.
2.Gonds have been largely influenced by the Hindus and for the long time have been practicing the Hindus culture and traditions. Gonds are the worshipers of Janani or the mother of creator.
3.Gusadi dance is the most famous dance perfomed by the Gonds.
Gonds fair and festivals are influenced from the Hindu traditions. Keslapur Jathra is the important festival of the Gonds.
 GaddisHimachal Pradesh.1.The main occupation of Gaddi tribes is shepherding and they make their livelihood by rearing and selling sheeps, goats, mules and horses
2. They speak Gaddi langauge
The Namagen dance is performed in the month of September to celebrate the autum. They were costumes which are largely woolen and studded with ornaments of silver. They are worn by women.
 BirhorChattisgarh1.They follow Hinduism and have their indigenous traditional beliefs. ‘Sing Bonga’, is regarded by the people as the supreme god.
2.Birhor tribe is one of the primitive tribes. They belong to the Proto-Australoid stock; linguistically, they originate from the Austro-Asiatic group.
 GaroMeghalaya1.In Garo tribes, women are the owners of property thus making it a matrilineal society.
2.most of the Garos adopted Christianity. These tribes speak Garo language, which is also further divided into different sub-languages or dialects.
Wangala is one of the significant festivals of these tribes This festival is celebrated after the harvest of crops as thanks giving ceremony to their deity Salijong
 ZeliangNagaland1.The Zeliang practice wet cultivation or Panikheti and terraced cultivation. They practice Jhum cultivation though they prefer Panikheti.
2.Many have accepted the religion of Christianity.
The Hega festival is one of the most important and the largest festivals among the Zeliang community
 RengmaNagaland1.They belong to the Mongoloid racial stock. The Rengma is a patriarchal society therefore the line of descent is traced through the male side and property rights goes to the male line.   2.The Rengma tribes are agriculturists. They grow paddy through Jhum cultivation and wet cultivation. 3.Traditionally Rengma tribes are worshippers of supernatural beings. The Supreme god is known as Teronyu. Nyensug and Nyensugi are the next important god and goddesses who are worshipped for household wealth. Now most of the Rengma tribes are ChristiansNgada is the most important festival of Rengma tribes. It is celebrated after harvesting the crop or at the end of November or in the beginning of December. Actually it is a “Thanks giving” festival of the Rengma tribes
 AoNagalandThe Ao Nagas are rich in their folk literature.
With the arrival of Christian missionaries in the 19th century the Ao were some of the earliest converts to Christianity among the other Naga tribes.
1. The Aos observe Moatsü Mong after the sowing is done. The festival provides them a period of recreation and entertainment after the stressful work of clearing fields, burning jungles, sowing seeds, cleaning up the Tsubu (wells) and repairs and construction of houses by elders of the Putu Menden, stretching over a week.
2.Aos have another festival called Tsüngrem Mong. It is celebrated in the eve of the harvest.
 LushaiManipur/Mizoram1.Lushai tribes have developed expertise in swimming and hunting. That they are good archers are apparent from the fact that they can nicely handle ‘Sairawkher’.
2.The way they dress shows that these Lushai tribes have got aesthetic sense. Lukhum is a special hat worn by the Lushai tribes. It is sharp in shape, mainly prepared from ‘bamboo splits’. Special open-hexagonal weave are used for weaving these hats.
3.For proper administration, the whole of the Lushai society are segregated into clans and castes, nicely run by a village head. Different is the way in which they practice the ‘Sakhua sacrifice’. These Lushai tribes are pious.
There Bamboo dance(known as Cheraw dance) is very famous.
 HmarManipur1.The society is patrilineal and patriarchal in nature.
2. Hmars worship supernatural beings. Pathien is the supreme god.
3.The Hmars depend on forest products. Their economy can be classified dually -traditional and subsidiary occupations.
Chawn-lam, Dar-lam, Pheipheet-lam, Hrang-lam, Tinna-Hla-lam are the common dances of the Hmar community. All dances are based on the rhythmic tunes of musical instruments.
 KukiManipurKuki Tribe of Manipur are mainly followers of Christianity and Judaism. 
 MizoMizoram1.The Mizos are of the Mongoloid racial stock with well built features.
2.They follow Christianity
3.The Mizos are mainly an agricultural people. Jhum cultivation is the traditional form of agriculture that is practiced
The Mizo celebrate many festivals among which Chapchar kut and Pavlkut are most important festivals. Chapchar kut is celebrated in the month of March. It is the spring festival celebrated. Pawl kut is a harvest festival celebrated in the months of December and January.
 ChakesangNagaland Held in between March and April, the Tsukhenyi festival is one of the least known tribal festivals in India that is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the Chakesang Nagass
 LimboosSikkim1.Many Limbu follow a combination of Buddhism and their traditional beliefs.
2.There traditional group dance is called dhannach and is performed during marriage,death or any festivities
3.The traditional dress of Limboos are mekhli and Taga
 LepchasSikkim1.The Lepchas are the aboriginal inhabitants of Sikkim and they are mostly settled in North Sikkim. They are mostly Buddhist but many of them have now adopted Christianity
2. The traditional cloths of the Lepchas are woven in exquisite colour combinations. Men’s dress is called Thokro-Dum and the female’s dress is called Dumdyam or Dumvum.
3. The Lepcha trace their descent patrilineally. The marriage is negotiated between the families of the bride and the groom.
 ApataniAruanchal Pradesh1.UNESCO has proposed the Apatani valley for inclusion as a World Heritage Site for its “extremely high productivity” and “unique” way of preserving the ecology
2. Women of the Apatani Tribe, in India’s Apatani plateau, are famous for the bizarre nose plugs they’ve been wearing since times long passed.
They have two major festival- Dree and Myoko.
 NyishisAruanchal Pradesh1.The Nyishi language belongs to the Sino-Tibetan family, however, the origin is disputed.
2.Polygyny is prevalent among the Nyish.
3. The Nyishis, who traditionally wear cane helmets surmounted by the crest of a hornbill beak (known as pudum, padam), have considerably affected the population of this bird.
Several organizations, such as the Arunachal Wildlife and Nature Foundation and the Wildlife Trust of India, have been trying to stop the Nyishi hunting these birds in order to protect them from extinction. Nature reserves, such as the Pakke Sanctuary, are being set up to protect the birds, while artificial materials, such as fiberglass, have been introduced as an alternative to the hornbill beak in Nyishi dress.
Nyokum is the festival celebrated by the Nyishi people, a religion which commemorates their ancestors.
 AdisAruanchal PradeshAdi dances vary from the slow, rustic and beautifully enchanting style Ponung (performed in Solung festival) to the exhilarating, exuberant thumps of Delong performed by Men in Etor festival. These dances have led to certain forms of dancing which jointly narrate a story, the Tapu (War Dance). In the Tapu War Dance, the dancers vigorously re-enact the actions of war, its gory details and the triumphant cries of the warriors. Yakjong is performed in Aran festival.The Adi celebrate a number of festivals, in particular their prime festivals are Aran, Solung, Etor.Solung, is observed in the first week of September for five days or more. It is a harvest festival performed after the sowing of seeds and transplantation, to seek for future bumper crops. Ponung songs and dances are performed by women folk during the festival
 Sema/Sumi NagasNagaland1.The ‘Sumi Naga’ is one of the major Naga peoples in Nagaland, India. The Sumis mainly inhabit the Zunheboto district, although many have spread and is now living in a few more districts within Nagaland.
2.Sumi Naga tribe practiced kiti-do and were a headhunter as every other Naga tribals .
Tuluni (July 8) is a festival of great significance for the Sumi. This festival is marked with feasts as the occasion occurs in the bountiful season of the year. Drinking rice beer indispensably forms as part of the feasts. Rice beer is served in a goblet made of bamboo or made from the leaf of plantain. This drink is called Tuluni which gives the festival its name.
 Konyak tribeNagalandThe Konyak are a Naga people, and are recognised among other Naga by their tattoos, which they have all over their face and hands; facial tattoos were earned for taking an enemy’s head. They are called the land of Angh’s. They have the largest population among the Nagas.Aoleang is the biggest festival for the Konyak. They wear their traditional attire and sing folk song to celebrate the Aoleang festival.
 ReangTripura1.The Reangs are basically a semi-nomadic tribe who practice jhum (slash and burn) or shifting method of cultivation on the hill sides.
2. The Reang basically belonged to the Mongoloid group and speaks the Tibeto-Burmese language ‘Kau Bru
The Hodaigri dance amongst the Reang (Bru) was usually performed on the occasion of Maikhlungmo rituals i.e. worship of Goddess of food grains and cotton especially during the month of September-October
 MishingAssam1.The Mishing tribe is the second largest tribe among the other tribes of North- East India.
2.Traditionally Mishing people live near the bank of river and they build their “Chang Ghar” with the help of timber bamboo, thatch, etc for comfort living.
Mishing people are easy going, very simple living and are fond of festivals. The main festival is “Ali-Aye-Ligang” which is the most colourful spring festival held every year on first Wednesday of the month “Gimur polo”(Feb-March).
 KarbiAssam1.The Karbis believes in animism which consists of such a belief in the role of spiritual beings in human life.
2. Various types of dances are performed by the youths during the performances of Chomangkan, the death ceremony and other socio-religious festivals. The Karbis have very limited number of musical instruments. A big drum called Cheng is their main musical instrument.
A number of festivals are observed by the people belonging to Karbi tribal group. Like for instance, they celebrate ‘Chojun Puja’ or ‘Swarak Puja’, ‘Rongker’, ‘Chokk-eroi’, ‘Hacha-Kekan’, ‘Chomangkan’.
 KolsMadhya PradeshMost of these tribes are landless labourer. They prefer to live in groups near villages called Kolhan 
 BondaOdhisaThe Bonda are an ancient tribe of people who live in the isolated hill regions of the Malkangiri district of southwestern Odisha, India, 
 OaronsOdhisa,Bihar and Jharkhand1.Oraon also called Kurukh, aboriginal people of the Chota Nagpur region in the state of Jharkhand, India. They call themselves Kurukh and speak a Dravidian language akin to Gondi and other tribal languages of central India.
2.Speakers of Oraon number about 1,900,000, but in urban areas, and particularly among Christians, many Oraon speak Hindi as their mother tongue.
3.It was long thought that the Oraons and the other tribals were animists, people who attribute a living soul to plants, inanimate objects and natural phenomena. This view has been discarded although amateur anthropologists still sort it out in articles, in popular magazines. The Oraons are not nature worshipers.
 MuriasChattisgarh1.The Muria are an adivasi (scheduled tribe) of the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, India. They are part of the Gondi people.
2.They have mixed-sex dormitories where adolescents are sent to practice premarital sex, sometimes with a single partner and sometimes serially.
3.The Muria are traditionally animists, with village and clan deities
 KorbaChattisgarhFamous for there Karma dance 
 SahariyaRajasthan1.Sahariya Tribe is the only primitive tribe of the Rajasthan state
2.They follow Hindu religious practices and speak a dialect influenced by Hadoti.
 IrulasTamil Nadu1. They inhabit the area of the Nilgiri mountains, in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, India
2.Early 20th century anthropological literature classified the Irular under the Negrito ethnic group.
3.Unlike the Negrito tribes in the Andaman Islands who have retained their language, Irular speak the Irula language, a Dravidian language that is closely related to Tamil, Yerukala, Sholaga and other Tamil languages
 BadagasTamil Nadu1.The Badagas live in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu, India. They speak the unwritten Badaga language and are the one of the social groups in Nilgiris
2.Thundu (a white piece of cloth) forms an integral part of the attire of Badaga women and as a cultural item, is presented to visiting dignitaries as a gesture of good will.
Their important festival is Hethai Habba.
 UralisKerela1.The Urali tribes like most of the tribes in south India, worship nature as Gods and inventor of the world. They consider the Sun as ‘the creator of all souls’ and moon as the mother of all creation.
2.The Uralis generally do not engage in inter-tribal marriage, instead they prefer to marry within their own tribe. It is custom amongst them to wear a sacred thread on special occasions like weddings and funerals.
 JarawasAndaman & Nicobar Island1.The Jarawa are still at the primitive stage of life on earth. They entirely depend upon forest and sea for food. Wild boar and monitor lizard are consumed. Various kinds of fruit , honey and tubers are parts of their diet too.
2.The jarawas of both sexes go complete naked. However some ornaments made with shells and palm leaves are worn by them but these are not in the sense to cover their nudity.
This tribe has lived in the southeast part of Andaman but after the British regime they shifted to the western region of the island. They have forever been hunter gatherers in the true sense however things have changed since the 1990’s specially after the building of the old trunk road.
 SentineleseAndaman & Nicobar Island1.The Sentinelese people are said to be so hostile that their home has been named the ‘hardest place to visit’ in the world.The Sentinelese and other indigenous Andamanese peoples are frequently described as negritos,
2.They inhabit the North Sentinel island, and are the only remaining tribe in the Andamans to still maintain their isolation from the rest of the world. Nobody knows exactly how they look, the population or how they live. Since 1967, the indian governments with the help of anthropologists have tried to make contact with the tribe. They tried giving gifts of food, coconuts, etc but they were always met with hostility. The tribe showers arrows and stones at whoever comes near the island.
 OngeAndaman & Nicobar IslandOnges are one of the most primitive tribes in India. They belong to the Negrito racial stock and they have been mainly seen near the Dugong creek in Little Andaman. They are dependent on the food provided by nature and are a semi-nomadic tribe.
The onge population fell post british colonization from 672 in 1986 to 92 in 1901 but has remained stable since.
 ShompenAndaman & Nicobar IslandThe Shompens, who live in the Great Nicobar island, are a semi-nomadic people. They wander in their forest and coastal habitat in search of fruits and games. There are two territorial groups among the Shompens; The habitation of Shompens is the Great Nicobar which is the largest among the Nicobar group of Islands. Like the Nicobarese, they belong to the Mongoloid race. 
 PangwalHimachal Pradesh.1.These rugged people, who are Hindus, have their unique customs, traditions, and institutions. The native Pangwals and Bhotis are robust, hardworking, handsome people who keep the valley’s unique culture alive in folk songs, music and tribal dances.Music, dance and the locally brewed liquor ‘patar’, play a significant role in the life of the Pangwals. One of the major festivals celebrated towards the end of February is ‘Jukaru’
 SherdukpenAruanchal Pradesh1.The Sherdukpen language is part of the Kanauri branch of the Tibeto-Burman family.
2.Bardo Chham is a folk dance of Sherdukpens, a small community of West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh, Bardo Chham is based on the stories of good and evil. According to the local beliefs, there are both good and evil in mankind. The Sherdukpens mask themselves representing the different animals and dance to show an act of fighting the evil forces.
 Wattal tribeJammu & KashmirDumhal dance is performed by Wattal tribe on special occassions 
 BhutiasSikkim1.The Bhutia are a community of people of Tibetan ancestry, who speak Lhopo or Sikkimese, a Tibetan dialect fairly mutually intelligible to standard Tibetan
2. Singhi Chham or Kanchendzonga Dance is a dance form in Sikkim whereby the dancers perform in a lion costume that represents the snow lion. It is a dance of the Bhutia people
 TodasTamil NaduTribals of Nilgiri hills 

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