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Tribal Culture

Maharashtra has two tribal ethnic groups of tribes known as Bhils and Gonds. These ethnic groups comprise many tribes within them. Tribal groups in Western Maharashtra are mainly concentrated in Nandurbar and surrounding areas in Khandesh and Palghar district of Konkan. While in eastern Maharashtra tribes belong to the central Indian tribal belt, mainly concentrated in Chandrapur, Vidarbha, Gondia and other districts of Maharashtra.


Maharashtra has two tribal ethnic groups of tribes known as Bhils and Gonds. These ethnic groups comprise many tribes within them. Tribal groups in Western Maharashtra are mainly concentrated in Nandurbar and surrounding areas in Khandesh and Palghar district of Konkan. While in eastern Maharashtra tribes belong to the central Indian tribal belt, mainly concentrated in Chandrapur, Vidarbha, Gondia and other districts of Maharashtra.
Warli, Dheda, Dubala, Konkana, Mahadev Koli and others are the significant tribes belonging to the Bhil group and are seen in Western Maharashtra. various subgroups of Gonds and Pradhan, Kolam are some of the tribes representing Gond groups of tribes in Vidarbha.
The livelihood of these tribes is totally dependent on forest products. Their society has evolved over the period of time in a unique way. They have their own set of ethics and social norms to follow. 
 

Districts/Region

 Many tribes can be seen across Maharashtra, there are tribal districts like Palghar and Gadchiroli in  Maharashtra. North Konkan, Khandehs and Vidarbha have tribal belts known for tribal culture

Cultural Significance

These tribes have primitive subsistence and strong cultural identities. Tribes like Warli display very simple and aesthetically appealing art in the form of Paintings while Gonds display their skills in iron smelting which they have gained over the period of centuries. Though these tribes are economically backward, culturally they have made their mark in Maharashtra Culture. Their unique cuisine and lifestyle based on simple cooking recipes and forest products have become their identity.
Some of the tribes like Raj Gond and Mahadev Koli have ruled as kings in the history of Maharashtra and contributed significantly in the form of patronage of art and learning as well as by creating monumental architecture.
Tribal religion has nature worship as a basic component. They worship deified natural elements and forces. Ancestral worship is another unique feature of their belief system. Their set of oral tradition and mythology has a unique blend of mainstream religious traditions and indigenous tribal elements. All these socio-economic and religious aspects have resulted in unique expression in the form of art and architecture. 
Tribal festivals have made their presence in cultural tourism. Celebrations of Dussehra, Mask dances and tribal dances are part of their unique intangible cultural heritage.
Due to these unique features of tribal culture, Maharashtra has a special niche for Tribal tourism under the scope of Cultural Tourism.


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