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The Adivasis 

Primary Sources for Studies of Tribal Life in India

Page Last Updated: January 29, 2014


The Adivasis (literally meaning original dwellers) are the indigenous people of India who maintained the early lifestyles of mankind till the 19th century. They are also referred to as "Vanavasis" (meaning forest dwellers), "Girijans" (meaning people of the mountain), and "Mulavasis".

Many of the photographs were taken just before the modernization was to hit the native lifestyles (hunting, free-sex, and blending with nature) of Adivasis, and much of the Adivasi culture is lost today due to reform, modernization, education, rehabilitation, religious conversions, and exploitation. 

We hope that this archive of primary resources collected by anthropologists through extensive field-study and interviews will be an asset to students of Tribal life in India.



Adivasi Dancer Stops for a Smoke
Narayanapur Mela, Madhya Pradesh
Adivasis of Madhya Pradesh
Indigenous Habitat
Adivasi Habitat, Madhya Pradesh
Known as Manchal, this is the typical habitat of the tribals of Madhya Pradesh.

Ancient Means and Ways
A tribal man aims his catapult on a bird. The village of Chetedongar, Madhya Pradesh
Tribals of India
Tribals of India
Bastar Tribals, 1962-63
Tribals eating by the wayside on way to Jatra

Dancer at the Narayanpur Mela
Madhya Pradesh, circa 1977
Tribal Dancer
The Adivasis
Daughter of the Forest God

Decorated Tribal Boy
Photographically improved picture of tribal boy
Advivasis of India
Advivasis of India
Feather Decorations of a Tribal Dancer
The Khajuraho Folk Festival, 1977

A Female Dancer Belongnging to Muria Tribe
Muria Dancer
Korku  Tribals
Five Men of Korku Tribe
Notice the their attire

Flowers & Feathers Worn by a Muria Adivasi
Tribals of Bastar
The Gond Tribe
Gonda Youngster
The Village of Jamunjari, July 1976

A Gondati's Tattoo
The village of Bhimbetaka, Madhya Pradesh
Tribal Tattoos
Tribals of Madhya Pradesh
Homeward Bound
A coal miner returns to village from work

A Man belonging to Native Maratha (kad-maratha) Community
Indigenous People of India
Tribals of India
Mascular Tribal Youngster
Jagadalpur, 1976

Picture of a Kudubi Tribal Woman
The Village of Uluvi, Uttara Kannada District
Tribal Communities of India
Tribal Dancer`s Headgear
Posterior of a Tribal Dancer
Forests of Central India, circa 1976

Santali Tribal Woman and her Three Children
The Santali Tribe
Tribal People of India
Small Capital, Small Profits
A tribal man selling his produce on highway

Social Drinking among Tribals of India
While social drinking is frowned upon among the civilized in India, among the natives, it is very common.
Tribal Life in India
Advivasis of India
A Toda Tribal Leader

A tribal hut constructed without bricks, steel or mortar
Central India, circa 1976
Tribal Life of India
Tribals of Madhya Pradesh
Tribal Women on Errands

Tribal Woman of Gramokkal Community in Traditional Saree
The village of Kodkani, Uttara Kannada. Circa 1980
The Gramokkal Tribe
Indigenous People of India
Tribal Woman with Piercings

Tribal Women Dancers
Dancers at the Narayanpur Mela, Madhya Pradesh
The Moolavasis of India
Tribals of Central India
Tribal Women, Bastar
Careful inspection of the photograph reveals tribal tattoos and tribal jewelry

Tribal Women with Produce to be Sold on the Market-day
Village of Narayanpur, Central India
Tribal Women
Tribal Women
Tribal Women, Central India

Tribal Youngster with Horn Decorartions
Tribals of Madhya Pradesh
Tribal Fashions
Tribal Youth with an Axe
Photograph colored by K.L.Kamat

Two Adivasi Girls in town of Narayanpur
Notice their head décor. Bastar, circa 1976
Tribals in Town
Tribals of India
Villagers at Jagadalpur Dasara

Waiting for the Man of the Household
A tribal family waits for the father to return from forest, village of Chote Dongar, 1976
Tribals of India
Adivasi Girl
Young and Innocent
Young girl at the tribal educational institute of Ghotul, 1977

A Youngster Belonging to Muria Tribe
Photograph hand-colored by K.L. Kamat
Tribals of Bastar

See Also:

Primary Sources of Research on the indigenous people of India
Adivasi Picture Collection

A Youngster Belonging to Muria TribeFlowers & Feathers Worn by a Muria AdivasiTribal Youth with an AxeSocial Drinking among Tribals of IndiaTwo Adivasi Girls in town of NarayanpurA tribal hut constructed without bricks, steel or mortarTribal Women with Produce to be Sold on the Market-day
A Man belonging to Native Maratha (kad-maratha) CommunityTribal Woman with PiercingsDancer at the Narayanpur MelaAdivasi Dancer Stops for a SmokeA Gondatis TattooGonda YoungsterAdivasi Habitat, Madhya Pradesh
Ancient Means and WaysYoung and InnocentDaughter of the Forest GodMascular Tribal YoungsterVillagers at Jagadalpur DasaraSantali Tribal Woman and her Three ChildrenTribal Woman of Gramokkal Community  in Traditional Saree
Five Men of  Korku TribeBastar Tribals, 1962-63Tribal Women, BastarDecorated Tribal BoyFeather Decorations of a Tribal DancerA Female Dancer Belongnging to Muria TribeHomeward Bound
Picture of a Kudubi Tribal WomanTribal Youngster with Horn DecorartionsTribal Women, Central IndiaSmall Capital, Small ProfitsA Toda Tribal LeaderPosterior of a Tribal DancerTribal Women Dancers
Tribal Women on ErrandsWaiting for the Man of the Household

Tribals of India Collection

Tribal Women in Town trying to Get a Glimpse of Inside of a HouseWestern style <b>dating</b> is an integral part of tribal education system among the Murias of Madhya PradeshBuffalo-horn head gear, Madhya PradeshLight heart cures povertyA Halakki woman going to market to sell vegetablesTribal BeautyWhat is Nuclear Testing?
Tribals decorating  a head-gearTribal Women Gathered for All-Night Long DanceA Toda Village Elder in Nilgiri MountainsA Lambani Woman and her JewelryA Tribal woman wearing self-made jewelry, Madhya PradeshBorn in poverty, raised in poverty….Tribal Women at a Weekly Marketplace
Halakki Women in a Group DanceBells of a Adivasi DancerKorku Tribal with his Stick ToolTribal  Dancer at a Tribal Education InstitutionDecorated Headgear of a Tribal StudentGramokkal Lady of Hebbar Hittal, 1987Silver Jewelry of a Gondati
Halbi Tribal Man Praying in front of a TulasiTribal Women on their Way to MarketDaughter of the ForestDancing Tribal WomenMan Belonging to the Korku TribeA Girl Belonging to the Santhal Tribe and her PetTribal Girl in Unicloth
The Female of the TribeMan Belonging to the Kadu Kuruba TribeBangles that resemble AnkletsTattoos of a Tribal WomanA Sundi TribalA Youngster belonging to the Gonda TribeBison Horn Maria Drummer
Dancers Walking on Stilts Finely Crafted Bangle Long Distance Walking

Kamat Reference Database

Kamat's Potpourri India Reference Database The Adivasis

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