Encounter Tribes of Kanha National Park to Know Unique Culture and Lifestyle

Kanha National Park is among the most popular national parks in the Madhya Pradesh region and across India. Apart from the richness of the flora and fauna, this park is also notable for many tribes. The two most popular of them are the Baiga and Gond tribes. In 1955, when Kanha was declared a national park, many tribals had to be resettled to establish wildlife conservation. Today, most of the tribes live in areas surrounding the national park in the Mukki zone. Even though both tribes are known to live side by side, there are stark differences between them.

In the last decade, tribal tourism in India has received strong attention due to the rich cultural heritage of the communities endowed with medical and Ayurveda plants. This is why many tourists, particularly curious foreigners, visit these regions to learn and experience the culture and lifestyle of tribal communities. (Tribal tourism is a form of travel where the tribes allow outsiders to visit and even stay with them temporarily to experience their lifestyle.)

In return, tribal tourism brings many benefits to the tribes, including employment, development work due to government attention, and so on. However, there are certain negatives as well, including apparent intrusion. Overall, it enables the authorities to save and restore the region’s culture for the ages.

Tribal tours in India, particularly in the Central India region of Kanha, are like no other. You will enter a space where people are used to simple living, passed down from their ancestors. Many lost customs, traditions, rituals, etc., are unique to these tribes.

The following description details exciting similarities and differences between the two tribes.

Here is the List of Famous Tribes of Kanha National Park

Baiga Tribals of Kanha

Culture and Lifestyle

The Baiga tribe of Kanha is known for its primitive and semi-nomadic existence, which gives the impression of a civilization from a long, distant past. They are usually seen worshiping Mother Earth. The legend says that they are children of the Earth and are responsible for its upkeep. If you visit the park region, you will encounter villagers living in plain mud huts without electricity. Despite that, they are well-known for their hospitality.

If you look at their customs, Baiga women have their forehead, arms, chest, and legs tattooed. They speak the Baigani language. For occupation, they are usually engaged in essential labor-oriented work like digging. However, with the increased interest in tourism, their music and dance forms have been revived, and many locals have been employed.

Also, they never plow the lands, and when they do, they practice shifting cultivation (cultivation of land for a limited period and then abandoning it to regain its natural fertility and vegetation). They are usually recognized for being highly tolerant and known to have a decent calmness.

By nature, they are highly tolerant and have an infectious calmness. Interestingly, most of their possessions are made from bamboo. Behaviourally speaking, since Baigas consider the Earth to be their mother, they go a long way in protecting and conserving it.

Food Habits

With shifting cultivation methods, Baigas mostly grow and devour common grains, rice, and millet. They also pick vegetables and fruits from the forest and are involved in fishing and eating small mammals. Generally, they travel a long distance to gather food for themselves and their families.

But after dusk, they are notoriously seen with the popular alcoholic drink toddy made from Mahua flowers. For a long time, they have used herbs from the forest to prepare and treat their ailments. Almost everyone admires their interdependence with wildlife.

Overall, anyone visiting these regions will be impressed by the richness of their costumes, jewelry, and wide range of musical instruments. Yet, despite this, the community’s knowledge of their traditional songs and dance forms has begun slowly fading with the older generations. Hence, the forest department has made various efforts to preserve their history and culture.

Also Check out Popular Kanha Wildlife Tour Packages

Gond Tribals of Kanha

Culture and Lifestyle

Even though they are neighboring tribes of Baigas, Gonds are miles apart in terms of lifestyle. Their folklore involves many grand narratives of the bravery of their ancestors. They are called hill people in the region and are great defenders of their land. There are great legends and folklore associated with the Gond tribes. Currently, they are the most significant surviving tribes in India.

The Gondwana Kingdom was ruled long ago by Rajgonds, the ruling class among the Gond tribe. Their language has always been the Gondi, which is heavily influenced by Dravidian languages. One of the most exciting qualities of these tribes is their art forms, which include tattoos, motifs, and paintings of wild animals like the Tiger. Several Gond artists, like Jangarh Singh Shyam, are widely popular worldwide. For the same reason, Gond’s artwork is in greater demand than the Baigas.

Economically, even though Baigas and Gonds coexist in the Kanha region, Gonds are way more forward-looking and better developed than Baigas. Unlike many other tribes, their homes are well-built with proper electric connections. On the other hand, Gonds has always respected and revered Baigas.

There is a range of spiritual ceremonies among the Gonds, presided over by Baigas as priests. On the other hand, Gonds have long been the protectors of the land that both tribes inhabit. Moreover, gonds are known to have astronomic knowledge and their interpretation of celestial bodies, which they’ve long used traditionally to keep track of time and their calendars.

Historically, the Gonds represent a heterogeneous group inhabiting the dense forests of the Vindhyas, Satpura, and Mandla in the Narmada region in Madhya Pradesh. The central province was Gondwana, where Gonds were the prime residents. They had four separate Gond kingdoms under their control. Over time, they lost control over them, and their land slowly declined.

Food Habits

Like Baigas, Gond has a unique indigenous style of cooking. For instance, the Kikad roti is made by pressing small doughs of aata between camel foot leaves and cooking on a live fire. Kikad roti, The Kurti Dal, bedra chutney, and Brahmkhass Chakri are common dishes of a Gond plate.

Rice is usually a luxury item for Gonds and is eaten only during festivals and celebrations. Like the Baigas, they love to drink Mahua toddy made from Mahua leaves. Gond diet has two staple millets: askodo and kutki. These are accompanied by vegetables that are picked from the forest or home-grown.

Their agricultural fields have home-grown grains and pulses, which are undoubtedly high-nutrition compared to the usual produce. Thus, to experience this rich indigenous life, you should visit Kanha National Park. It is a complete package that includes biodiversity, forts, tribal populations, art forms, villages, and much more. Apart from having a high chance of sighting wild animals, the park takes you close to a lifestyle that most civilizations have long forgotten.

Do reach out to the Indian Vist by filling out the inquiry form to get all the details for a fantastic trip to the Kanha National Park. Our team provides packages that include a variety of activity-based tours for both individual and group tourists, which gives them a great deal of efficiency in offering cultural interactions and a range of insider experiences that add to an extraordinary experience.

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