In this article, You will read Important Tribes of India (i.e. Famous Tribal Groups) – for UPSC IAS.

Tribes in India

A tribe is a social division of a traditional society composed of households connected with a common culture and a dialect by social, financial, religious, or blood connections.

A tribe possesses certain qualities and characteristics that make it a unique cultural, social, and political entity.

Race vs Ethnicity

Although, all human belongs to same species, i.e. Homo sapiens and even sub-species, i.e. Homo Sapiens Sapiens. But there are small genetic variations across the globe due to geographical diversity such as variations in skin shading to the eye shading, and facial structure to hair shading. These engender diverse physical appearances termed as ‘race’ which is associated with biology.

Ethnicity refers to cultural factors, including nationality, regional culture, ancestry, and language. It implies or suggests shared cultural traits, linguistic or religious traits, and shared group history. For Ex. Indo-Aryan Ethnic Group, Dravidian Ethnic Group, Mongoloid Ethnic Group

  • India has been described as a “melting pot” of races and tribes. India has one of the largest and diverse tribal populations in the world.
  • The tribal population in India according to the 2011 census is 104 million or 8.6% of the total population.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the largest population (15.3 million i.e 21%) according to number and Lakshadweep has the highest population (94.8%) compared to its total population.
  • The largest tribe are Bhils nearly 46 lakh and the smallest tribe are Andamanese only 19 members.

The tribal communities in India have been recognized by the Indian Constitution under ‘Schedule 5’ of the constitution. Hence the tribes recognized by the Constitution are known as ‘Scheduled Tribes’.

Article 366 (25) defined scheduled tribes as “such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this constitution”.

Article 342

  • The President may, with respect to any State or Union territory, and where it is a state, after consultation with the Governor thereof by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which shall, for the purposes of this constitution, is deemed to be scheduled tribes in relation to that State or Union Territory, as the case may be.
  • Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled tribes specified in a notification issued under clause(1) any tribe or tribal community or part of or group within any tribe or tribal community, but save as aforesaid, a notification issued under the said clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification.
  • Thus, the first specification of Scheduled Tribes in relation to a particular State/ Union Territory is by a notified order of the President, after consultation with the State governments concerned. These orders can be modified subsequently only through an Act of Parliament. The above Article also provides for listing of scheduled tribes State/Union Territory wise and not on an all India basis.

Ministry of Tribal Affairs

  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs is responsible for the overall development of the scheduled tribes in India. This Ministry was set up in 1999 after the bifurcation of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment with the objective of providing a more focused approach on the integrated socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes (STs), the most underprivileged of the Indian Society, in a coordinated and planned manner.
  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs shall be the nodal Ministry for overall policy, planning, and coordination of programs of development for the Scheduled Tribes. In regard to sectoral programs and schemes of development of these communities policy, planning, monitoring, evaluation, etc. as also, their coordination will be the responsibility of the concerned Central Ministries/ Departments, State Governments, and Union Territory Administrations.

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)

  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003.
  • By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely-
    • the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)
    • the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) w.e.f. 19 February 2004.

Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) strategy

  • The Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) strategy is a Government of India initiative aimed for the rapid socio-economic development of tribal people.
  • The funds provided under the Tribal Sub Plan of the State have to be at least equal in proportion to the ST population of each State or UTs.
  • Similarly, Central Ministries/Departments are also required to earmark funds out of their budget for the Tribal Sub-Plan. As per guidelines issued by the Planning Commission, the Tribal Sub Plan funds are to be non-divertible and non-lapsable.
  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes is vested with the duty to participate and advise in the planning process of socio-economic development of STs, and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups. In India, tribal population makes up for 8.6% of the total population.

  • 75 tribal groups have been categorized by Ministry of Home Affairs as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)s. PVTGs reside in 18 States and UT of A&N Islands.
  • They have declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward.
  • They generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.


In 1973, the Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, who are less developed among the tribal groups.

  • In 1975, the Government of India initiated to identify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs and declared 52 such groups, while in 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category, making it a total of 75 PVTGs, spread over 18 states and one Union Territory (A&N Islands) in the country (2011 census).
  • Among the 75 listed PVTG’s the highest number are found in Odisha (13), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12).

In 2006, the Government of India renamed the PTGs as PVTGs.

Scheme for development of PVTGs:

  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the Scheme of “Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)” exclusively for them.
    • Under the scheme, Conservation-cum-Development (CCD)/Annual Plans are to be prepared by each State/UT for their PVTGs based on their need assessment, which are then appraised and approved by the Project Appraisal Committee of the Ministry.
    • Priority is also assigned to PVTGs under the schemes of Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme (TSS), Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution, Grants-in-aid to Voluntary Organisations working for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes and Strengthening of Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts.
  • Jiban Sampark Project of Odisha
    • The Project is being undertaken in association with UNICEF.
    • It aims to generate awareness among Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) in Odisha on various development and welfare initiatives of the State Government, especially on women and child welfare.
    • The focus areas of the Project are skill development, empowering communities, cooperation, and innovation among the groups.

The criteria followed for determination of PVTGs are as under:

  1. A pre-agriculture level of technology.
  2. A stagnant or declining population.
  3. Extremely low literacy.
  4. A subsistence level of the economy.

Denotified tribes

  • Denotified tribes were those tribes which were listed under the Criminal Tribes Act 1871 under the British as Criminals and addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences.
  • Once declared notified they were required to register with the local magistrate and severe restriction was placed on their movement.
  • But after Independence Criminal Tribes Act was repealed and were placed under the Habitual offenders Act. Thus they till now suffer from numerous disabilities due to this and are unable to meet their subsistence needs.
  • The Idate Commission appointed by the Government called for the repeal of the Habitual offenders Act to allow for inclusive development of these tribes.

Important Tribes of India (Statewise)

Andhra PradeshAndh, Sadhu Andh, Bhil, Bhaghata, Dhulia,rona, Kolam, Gond, Thoti, Goundu, Kammara, Savaras, Dabba Yerukula, Sugalis, Nakkala, Pardhan, Gadabas, Chenchus A.k.a Chenchawar, Kattunayakan, Jatapus, Manna Dhora
Arunachal PradeshSingpho, Monpa, Abor, Sherdukpen, Galo, Apatanis
AssamKhasis, Chakma, Dimasa, Gangte, Garos, Hajong, Chutiya
BiharGond, Birjia, Asur, Savar, Parhaiya, Chero, Birhor, Santhals, Baiga
ChhattisgarhNagasia, Biar, Khond, Agariya, Bhattra, Mawasi, Bhaina,
GoaVarli, Dubia, Siddi, Dhodia, Naikda
GujaratPatelia, Bhil, Dhodia, Bamcha, Barda, Paradhi, Charan, Gamta
Himachal PradeshSwangal, Gujjars, Lahaulas, Khas, Pangwala, Lamba, Gaddis
Jammu and KashmirBalti, Garra, Sippi, Bakarwal, Mon, Gaddi, Purigpa, Beda
JharkhandGonds, Birhors, Savar, Mundas, Santhals, Khaira, Bhumji
KarnatakaGond, Patelia, Barda, Yerava, Bhil, Koraga, Adiyan, Iruliga,
KeralaMalai, Aarayan, Arandan, Uralis, Kurumbas, Arandan, Eranvallan
Madhya PradeshKharia, Bhils, Murias, Birhors, Baigas, Katkari, Kol, Bharia, Khond, Gonds,
MaharashtraWarlis, Khond, Bhaina, Katkari, Bhunjia, Rathawa, Dhodia.
ManipurThadou, Aimol, Maram, Paite, Chiru, Purum, Kuki, Monsang, Angami
MeghalayaPawai, Chakma, Raba, Hajong, Lakher, Garos, Jaintias Khasis
MizoramDimasa, Raba, Chakma, Lakher, Khasi, Synteng, Kuki, Pawai.
NagalandNagas, Angami, Sema, Garo, Kuki, Kachari, Mikir, Konyak, Lotha
OdishaGadaba, Ghara, Kharia, Khond, Matya, Oraons, Rajuar, Santhals.
RajasthanBhils, Damaria, Dhanka, Meenas(Minas), Patelia, Sahariya, Lambada(Banjara).
SikkimBhutia, Khas, Lepchas.
Tamil NaduAdiyan, Aranadan, Eravallan, Irular, Kadar, Kanikar, Kotas, Todas.
TripuraBhil, Bhutia, Chaimal, Chakma, Halam, Khasia, Lushai, Mizel, Namte.
UttarakhandBhotia, Buksa, Jaunsari, Raji, Tharu.
Uttar PradeshBhotia, Buksa, Jaunsari, Kol, Raji, Tharu.
West BengalAsur, Khond, Hajong, Ho, Parhaiya, Rabha, Santhals, Savar.
Andaman and NicobarGreat Andamanese, Oraons, Onges, Sentinelese, Shompens.
Little AndamanJarawa
LakshadweepAminidivis, Koyas, Malmis, Melacheris.
North-EastAbhors, Chang, Galaong, Mishimi, Singpho, Wancho.
Ancient Tribes of India UPSC

Most Famous Tribal Groups

Bhils Tribe

  • The Bhils are a tribe found mostly in the mountain ranges of Udaipur and in some districts of Rajasthan.
  • The Bhils are the largest tribes in India.
  • Popularly known as the Bow men of Rajasthan
  • They speak the Bhili language.
  • Their celebrations are the Ghoomar dance, Bhagoria Mela during Holi, Than Gair-a dance drama, and the Baneshwar Fair during Shivaratri.

Gonds Tribe

  • Found in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh and in parts of Maharashtra, Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh, the Gonds are the second biggest tribe in India.
  • They are known for their valor and speak many Indian languages including the Dravidian Gondi language.
  • They have houses of mud walls and thatched roofs in the Gondi forests.
  • Agriculture is their main occupation.
  • Keslapur Jathra and Madai are their festivals.

Baiga Tribe

  • The Baiga (means sorcerers) is one of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  • They mainly live in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Traditionally, the Baiga lived a semi-nomadic life and practiced slash and burn cultivation. Now, they are mainly dependent on minor forest produce for their livelihood.
    • Bamboo is the primary resource.
  • Tattooing is an integral part of Baiga culture, every age and body part has a specific tattoo reserved for the occasion.

Munda Tribe ( means headmen of village)

  • This tribe is found in Jharkhand and parts of Chattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha, and West Bengal.
  • Their life is simple and basic. They speak the Mundari language. The Mundas were hunters in the past but now are laborers in farms.
  • They follow the Sarna religion owing allegiance to a God called Singbonga which means the Sun God.
  • Their language is Killi and Nupur dance is the main entertainment.
  • The Munda tribes celebrate the Mage, Karam, Sarhaul, and Phagu festivals.

Santhal Tribes

  • The Santhal tribes are a major tribe of West Bengal. They are also seen in parts of Bihar, Odisha, and Assam and are the largest tribe in Jharkhand.
  • First tribe to offer resistance to British during 1855 Santhal rebellion which resulted in the creation of separate Santhal Paragans district.
  • They depend on agriculture and livestock for their living and are great hunters.
  • They have no temples of their own. They even do not worship any idols. Santhals follow the Sarna religion.
  • In addition to traditional festivals like Karam and Sahrai, Santhali dance and music is a major attraction.


  • Distribution: Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh
  • Meenas claim a mythological descent from the Matsya avatar, or fish incarnation, of Vishnu.They also claim to be descendants of the people of the Matsya Kingdom.
  • The Meena tribe is divided into several clans and sub-clans (adakhs), which are named after their ancestors. Some of the adakhs include Ariat, Ahari, Katara, Kalsua, Kharadi, Damore, Ghoghra, Dali, Doma, Nanama, Dadore, Manaut, Charpota, Mahinda, Rana, Damia, Dadia, Parmar, Phargi, Bamna, Khat, Hurat, Hela, Bhagora, and Wagat.
  • In Rajasthan, the Meena caste members oppose the entry of Gurjars into Scheduled Tribe fold, fearing that their own share of Scheduled Tribe reservation benefits will be eroded.
  • These are one of the most excluded tribes who are not only isolated but also still primitive in their living.

Toto Tribe

  • Totapara village in the Alipurdoar district of West Bengal is home to the Toto tribe.
  • Their language has no script and is influenced by Nepali and Bengali.
  • They trade vegetables and fruits to maintain their simple life.
  • They believe in God Ishpa and Goddess Cheima, though they proclaim to be Hindus.

Bodo Tribe

  • The Bodo tribe is found in Assam and parts of West Bengal and Nagaland.
  • They are believed to be the early indigenous settlers of Assam.
  • They belong to Indo-Mongoloid family. They speak a Tibetan-Burmese language, the Bodo.
  • The weaving of handloom products is an intrinsic part of their culture.
  • They celebrate the Baishagu festival in spring, dedicated to Lord Shiva, Hapsa hatarani, Domashi.

Angami Tribe

  • The Angami Nagas is one of the major tribes found in the district of Kohima in Nagaland.
  • The men dress in white Mhoushu and black Lohe. The women wear Mechala and ornaments of beads, mask pendants, bracelets, etc.
  • The tribe is best known for the famed Hornbill Festival which attracts crowds from various parts of the world.
    • Hornbill Festival – first started in the year 2000 is celebrated in the month of December every year. It starts on December 1, a day that is celebrated as Nagaland Statehood Day, and it goes on for ten days, ending on December 10. 
    • The 17 tribes that take part in the festival are Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Dimasa Kachari, Garo, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Kuki, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yumchungru, and Zeliang.
  • Their intricate art and woodwork and work in bamboo and cane are beautiful. They speak different dialects like Gnamei, Ngami, Tsoghami.

Rengmas Tribe

  • Distribution: Nagaland
  • They are one of the seventeen major Naga Tribes.
  • They follow patriarchal system.
  • Originally they were animist. They believed in various gods and goddess. Christianity is also present among the tribe.
  • Agriculture is the main occupation. They practice Jhumming. Women are expert weavers.

Koyank Tribe (means black head)

  • Distribution: Nagaland
  • They are the largest out of 17 officially recognized tribes in Nagaland.
  • They are known as ‘those violent headhunters with tattooed faces.
  • One of the last headhunters, they now practice agriculture and hunt seasonally. More than 95% of them follow Christianity.
  • The men wear earrings made out of deer horn, necklace made out of boar tusks, and brass heads.
  • Festivals: Aoling to welcome spring, ‘Lao Ong Mo’ harvest festival

Bhutia Tribe

  • The Bhutias are mainly found in Sikkim and parts of West Bengal and Tripura.
  • They are of Tibetan ancestry and speak Lhopo or Sikkimese language.
  • They are known for their art and cuisine. The steamed meat dumplings called momos are their staple food.
  • Thukpa, noodles in a broth, is another of their dishes. Losar and Loosong are the festivals celebrated.

Bru or Reang Tribe

  • Bru or Reang is a community indigenous to Northeast India, living mostly in Tripura, Mizoram, and Assam. Reangs belongs to Indo-Mongoloid racial stock.
  • Reangs are the second largest tribal community of Tripura. In Tripura, they are recognized as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group.
  • In Mizoram, they have been targeted by groups that do not consider them indigenous to the state.
    • In 1997, following ethnic clashes, nearly 37,000 Brus fled Mamit, Kolasib, and Lunglei districts of Mizoram and were accommodated in relief camps in Tripura.
    • Since then, 5,000 have returned to Mizoram in eight phases of repatriation, while 32,000 still live in six relief camps in North Tripura.
      • In June 2018, community leaders from the Bru camps signed an agreement with the Centre and the two-state governments, providing for repatriation in Mizoram. But most camp residents rejected the terms of the agreement.
      • The camp residents said that the agreement didn’t guarantee their safety in Mizoram.


  • Distribution: Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal pradesh
  • The Chakma possess strong genetic affinities to Tibeto-Burman groups in Northeast India and to East Asian and populations.
  • They believe they are also part of Buddha’s Sakya clan from Himalayan tribes. After many struggles to survive, they gradually migrated to Arakan, and spread their territory to the nearby hills of Chittagong Hill Tracts.
  • During the construction of the Kaptai Dam in the 1960s, many Chakma settlements were submerged due to the creation of the artificial Kaptai Lake.
  • In the mid-1970s, the eruption of the Chittagong Hill Tracts conflict caused some Chakma people to become refugees in NEFA (present Arunachal Pradesh). The conflict ended in 1997 with the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord.
  • Language is Chakma part of Indo-Aryan group.
  • Religion is mainly Theravada Buddhism
  • Festivals: Bizu, Alphaloni, Buddha Purnima and Kathin Civar Dan.

Lepcha Tribe

  • Lepcha is a tribe of the Himalayan range lives at the North-East corner of India. They largely resides at Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Bhutan, Sikkim, and Darjeeling.
  • Lepchas are Mongoloid tribe. Their language is an admixture of Nepalese and Sikkims languages, which is very familiar with the Indo-Chinese language. They themselves call “Rong”.
  • Lepchas live on rearing a large number of cattle and milch cows besides cultivation of Agricultural and Horticultural crops.
  • Originally Lepchas were the nature worshiper and had beliefs in witch-craftship and spirits. But in due course, they embarrassed Buddhism.
  • In Tripura, they are known as Nepalese and their social and community relationship also bounded with Nepalese.

Khasi Tribe

  • This tribe is mainly spotted on the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya and in parts of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and West Bengal.
  • Most of the Khasis follow Christianity.
  • They speak Khasi – an Austro- Asiatic language
  • The property of the Khasis is passed on from the mother to the youngest daughter.
  • The women wear silver or gold crown on their head and the men wear large earrings.
  • The tribe plays plenty of music and a wide range of musical instruments like drums, guitars, flutes, cymbals, etc.
  • Their major festival, the Nongkrem festival is five days long when the women wear a dress called Jainsem and the men a Jymphong.

Garo Tribe

  • Garo tribes are mainly found in the hills of Meghalaya and parts of Assam, Nagaland, and West Bengal.
  • The tribe is one of the few matrilineal societies in the world. Garo architecture is quite unique. Nokmong, Nokpante, Jamadaal and Jamsireng are some of them.
  • The tribal women wear a variety of traditional ornaments. The men wear their traditional dress with a turban with feathers stuck in them.
  • The festival of Wangala is their celebration.

Nyishi Tribe

  • This tribe inhabits the mountains of Arunachal Pradesh with the majority of them from districts of Kurung Kumey, Papum Pare, Upper, and Lower Subansiri.
  • Nishi is the language spoken by them.
  • A good majority of them have converted to Christianity.

Gaddis Tribe

  • Distribution: Himachal Pradesh
  • They mainly dwell around the Dhauladhar mountain range, Chamba, Bharmaur, and the areas near to Dharamshala
  • The main occupation is pastoralism and they make their livelihood by rearing and selling sheep, goats, mules, and horses.
  • Most of them are Hindus and a few Muslims.
  • They speak the Gaddi Language but for writing, they use Takri and Hindi.
  • Festivals: Shivarathri, Jatra.


  • Distribution: Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kashmir
  • The Gurjars/Gujjars were no doubt a remarkable people spread from Kashmir to Gujarat and Maharashtra, who gave an identity to Gujarat, established kingdoms, entered the Rajput groups as the dominant lineage of Badgujar, and survive today as a pastoral and a tribal group with both Hindu and Muslim segments.
  • They mainly practise pastoral and dairy farming.
  • Practice transhumance.

Warli Tribe

  • The tribe is found in the Maharashtra-Gujarat border and surrounding areas.
  • This tribe is well known for the Warli Art, where a mixture of cow dung and earth, rice paste, bamboo stick, red ochre are used to create art, paintings, and murals.
  • They conduct the Tarpa dance during the harvest season and the Warli Folk Art Dancing People Festival during March of every year.

Khonds/ Dongari Khond

  • Distribution: Orissa
  • Their native language is Kui, a Dravidian language written with the Oriya script.
  • They are nature-worshipping forest dwellers.
  • Vedanta Resources, mining company, was set to destroy the forests, wildlife, and way of life of the Dongria Kondh people. Their four-year-long protests finally paid off as the government has now banned Vedanta from mining in Niyamgiri Mountain and in their forests.
  • Practice shifting cultivation locally called Podu.

Chenchu Tribe

  • This tribe is indigenous to Andhra Pradesh and inhabits the forests of Nallamala Hills.
  • They are also present in the districts of Kurnool, Nalgonda, Guntur.
  • They hunt and trade in jungle products like honey, roots, gums, fruits, and tubers.
  • They speak the Chenchu language with a Telugu accent and are a very ritualistic lot.
  • Festivals: Mahashivarathri is celebrated by them with great pomp especially in Amarbad tiger reserve Telangana.


  • Distribution: AP, Karnataka, Rajasthan
  • They are the largest tribe of AP.
  • They live in exclusive settlements of their own called Tandas, usually away from the main village, tenaciously maintaining their cultural and ethnic identity.
  • They are expert cattle breeders and largely subsist by sale of milk and milk products.
  • Festivals: Teej, Ugadi etc.

Apatani Tribes (or Tanni)

  • Aaptani are a tribal group of people living in the Ziro valley in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • They speak a local language called Tani and worship the sun and the moon.
  • They follow a sustainable social forestry system.
  • They celebrate major festivals – Dree with prayers for a bumper harvest and prosperity of all humankind and Myoko to celebrate Friendship.
  • The Apatanis practice aquaculture along with rice farming on their plots. Rice-fish culture in the valley is a unique practice in the state, where two crops of rice (Mipya and Emoh) and one crop of fish (Ngihi) are raised together.
  •  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.

Siddis Tribe

  • This tribe of Karnataka is believed to have descended from the Bantu people of Southeast Africa. History says that the people were brought in as slaves by the Portuguese.
  • They are found in various parts of Karnataka.
  • The majority of them are Christians while others follow Hinduism and Islamism. They are fond of ritual practices, dance, and music.

Kodava Tribe

  • This tribe from Mysore, Karnataka is concentrated in Coorg.
  • Well known for their bravery, the tribe is a patrilineal tribe from Kodagu or Coorg.
  • They speak the Kodava language.
  • They are basically agriculturists. The people of the tribe, both men and women, are very passionate about hockey.
  • Kodavas are the only people in India permitted to carry firearms without a license.


  • Distribution: Karnataka and Kerala
  • They traditionally lived in structures made of leaves, called koppus and also dressed in leaves.
  • They were subjected to inhuman practice of Ajalu which was banned by Karnataka Government in 2000. But it was in news recently due to it prevelance.
  • They practice endogamy with regard to their three main subdivisions, the Sappina, Ande and Kappada Koraga.
  • They worship spirits known as Bhutas as well as some devas and a sun god.
  • Koraga people are known for drum beating (dollu or dolu beating) and Flute music and dance involving both men and women.
  • Language is Koraga which has no script.


  • Distribution: Kerala and Tamil Nadu
  • They live in forests and do not practice any agriculture but are specialists in collection of honey, wax etc which they trade to obtain food items.
  • Live in temporary shelters with thatch leaves and shift according to employment availability.
  • They worship many jungle spirits.

Toda Tribe

  • The Todas are found in parts of the Nilgiris mountain in Tamil Nadu.
  • Their livelihood depends on cattle farming and dairy. Their skill in architecture is reflected in the oval and tent-shaped bamboo houses with thatched roofs.
  • Toda embroidery work, Pukhoor, is well acclaimed. Their most important festival is Modhweth.

Irular Tribe

  • The tribe inhabits areas of the Nilgiri mountain in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • They are the second-largest tribe in Kerala and are found mostly in the Palakkad region.
  • They are mainly farmers and dependent on the production of paddy, dhal, Raggi, chilies, turmeric, and plantains.
  • They are ritualistic, believe in their own Gods and are known for their skills in black magic.

Kattunayakan (King of Jungle)

  • Distribution: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka
  • Hunting and collecting forest produce are the two main means of living.
  • Kattunayakar believe in Hinduism and have a language, which is a mixture of all Dravidian languages. The main deity of the tribe is Lord Shiva and (jakkamma [Nayakkar])under the name of Bhairava. They also worship animals, birds, trees, rock hillocks, and snakes, along with the other Hindu deities.
  • Child marriages were common before the 1990s, but now the girls marry after attaining puberty. Monogamy is the general rule among the Kattunayakar community.
  • Kattunayakar are non-vegetarians and are fond of music, songs, and dancing.
  • They are also called Cholanaickar and Pathinaickars.


  • Distribution: southern Kerala State, especially Silent Valley National Park.
  • They are called Cholanaikan because they inhabit the interior forests. ‘Chola’ or ‘shoals’ means deep evergreen forest, and ‘naikan’ means King. They are said to have migrated from Mysore forests.
  • The Cholanaikkans speak the Cholanaikkan language, which belongs to the Dravidian family.
  • They live in rock shelters called ‘Kallulai’ or in open campsites made of leaves.
  • They subsist on food-gathering, hunting and minor forest produce collection.

Kanikaran Tribe

  • Kanikkaran are a tribal community found in the southern parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu states in India.
  • Though they cultivate everything and make agriculture as the main profession, they have a special liking for fishing and hunting.
  • Kaanikkar Nritham is a form of group dance performed as a rural offering.
  • The Kanikkars are semi-nomadic, living in temporary huts of bamboo and reeds. These are generally situated on hillsides.

Kurumba Tribe

  • This is a major tribe found in parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They are one of the earliest settlers of the Western Ghats.
  • They lead a simplistic lifestyle depending on agriculture and gathering of honey and wax.
  • They are adept at formulating traditional herbal medicines.
  • They are well known in the region for their skills in witchcraft and magic.

Great Andamanese Tribe

  • The tribe is based in the ‘Strait Island’ of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The members speak Jeru dialect among themselves and their number stands at 51 as per the last study carried out by Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti in 2012.
    • More than 5,000 Great Andamanese lived in the Islands before British settlers arrived in the 19th century.
    • However, hundreds were killed in the conflict as they defended their territories from British invasion, and thousands more were wiped out in epidemics of measles, influenza, and syphilis (a bacterial infection).


  • The Onge were semi-nomadic and fully dependent on hunting and gathering for food.
  • The Onge are one of the least fertile people in the world. About 40% of the married couples are sterile.
  • Onge women rarely become pregnant before the age of 28.
  • Infant and child mortality is in the range of 40%.
  • The Ong speak the Önge language. It is one of two known Ongan languages (South Andamanese languages).
  • A major cause of the decline in Onge population is the changes in their food habits brought about by their contact with the outside world.


  • The Shompen are a hunter-gatherer subsistence people, hunting wild game such as pigs, birds and small animals while foraging for fruits and forest foods.
  • The lowland Shompen build their huts on stilts and the walls are made of woven material on a wood frame and the roof of thatched palm fronds, and the structure is raised on stilts.
  • A man usually carried a bow and arrows, a spear and through his loincloth belt, a hatchet, knife and fire drill.
  • The Shompen are a hunter-gatherer subsistence people, hunting wild game such as pigs, birds and small animals while foraging for fruits and forest foods.
  • Language is Shompen belonging to Austroasiatic Language.


  • They are one of the world’s last uncontacted peoples.
  • The Sentinelese are hunter-gatherers. They likely use bows and arrows to hunt terrestrial wildlife and more rudimentary methods to catch local seafood, such as mud crabs and molluscan shells.
  • Some of their practices have not evolved beyond those of the Stone Age; they are not known to engage in agriculture. It is unclear whether they have any knowledge of making fire though investigations have shown they use fire.

Jarawa Tribe

  • The Jarawas are an indigenous people of the Andaman Islands in India.
  • They live in parts of South Andaman and Middle Andaman Islands.
  • They have largely shunned interaction with outsiders, and many particulars of their society, culture and traditions are poorly understood.
  • From the 1970s, the controversial Great Andaman Trunk Road was built through their western forest homeland. As result, contacts between the Jarawas and outsiders began to increase, resulting in occasional trading but also the outbreak of diseases.
  • On 21 January 2013 a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and H.L. Gokhale passed an interim order banning tourists from taking the trunk road passing through the Jarawa area.
  • As a response to this interim order, a petition was filed on behalf of local inhabitants which stated that the Andaman Trunk Road is a very vital road and connects more than 350 villages.
  • The Supreme Court therefore, on 5 March 2013 reversed its interim order, allowing the road to be fully re-opened, but with vehicles only being allowed to travel in large convoys four times a day.

List of PVTGs in India

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana1. Bodo Gadaba 2. Bondo Poroja 3. Chenchu 4. Dongria Khond 5. Gutob Gadaba 6. Khond Poroja 7. Kolam 8. Kondareddis 9. Konda Savaras 10. Kutia Khond 11. Parengi Poroja l2. Thoti
Bihar (including Jharkhand)13. Asurs 14. Birhor 15. Birjia 16. Hill Kharia 17. Konvas 18. Mal Paharia 19. Parhaiyas 20. Sauda Paharia 21. Savar
Gujarat22. Kathodi 23. Kohvalia 24. Padhar 25. Siddi 26. Kolgha
Karnataka27. Jenu Kuruba 28. Koraga
Kerala29.Cholanaikayan (a section of Kattunaickans) 30. Kadar 31. Kattunayakan 32. Kurumbas 33. Koraga
Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh)34. Abujh Macias 35. Baigas 36. Bharias 37. Hill Korbas 38. Kamars39. Saharias 40. Birhor
Maharashtra41. Katkaria (Kathodia) 42. Kolam 43. Maria Gond
Manipur44. Marram Nagas
Odisha45. Birhor 46. Bondo 47. Didayi 48. Dongria-Khond 49. Juangs 50. Kharias 51. Kutia Kondh 52. Lanjia Sauras 53. Lodhas 54. Mankidias 55. Paudi Bhuyans 56. Soura 57. Chuktia Bhunjia
Rajasthan58. Seharias
Tamil Nadu59. Kattu Nayakans 60. Kotas 61. Kurumbas 62. Irulas 63. Paniyans 64. Todas
Tripura65. Reangs
Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand66. Buxas 67. Rajis
West Bengal68. Birhor 69. Lodhas 70. Totos
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 71. Great Andamanese 72. Jarawas 73. Onges 74. Sentinelese 75. Shorn Pens
Indian Tribes UPSC map
Xaxa Committee on Tribal Communities of India
  • Prime Minister’s Office constituted a High-Level Committee (HLC) in 2013, under the chairmanship of Prof. Virginius Xaxa.
  • The Committee was mandated to examine the socio-economic, educational and health status of tribal communities and recommend appropriate interventional measures to improve the same. It submitted the report in May, 2014.
  • The five critical issues:(1) livelihood and employment, (2) education, (3) health, (4) involuntary displacement and migration, (5) and legal and constitutional matters have been studied by Xaxa Committee.
    • Of the five issues, first three are concerned with issues that have been at the root of the post-colonial State’s development agenda for tribes: livelihood and employment, education and health.
      • Substantial resources have been allocated specifically for tribes in all these spheres, and special programmes and schemes have also been formulated to address problems on these fronts, beginning from the first phase of India’s planned development.
      • And yet the status of tribes in these spheres continues to be one of the critical gaps in India’s road to development. This also raises the question of institutions and systems for delivery of public goods and services.
    • Massive development displacement: As a part of the faulty nation-building process, tribal areas have witnessed the large-scale development of industry, mining, infrastructure projects such as roads and railways, hydraulic projects such as dams and irrigation.
      • These have been followed by processes of urbanization as well.
      • It has been often loss of livelihood, massive displacement and involuntary migration of tribes.
    • Another important issue analysed by the Committee is the working of legislations.
      • The Provisions of Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996 and The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (FRA), 2006, enacted to redress the historical injustice to tribal and forest communities, have been significant initiatives that have changed their legal status.
      • However, policies and practices have been slow to absorb the changed circumstances recognised in the law.
      • These legislations and their violations have been examined for future amendment.
      • Subjects such as land acquisition, food security, detention and imprisonment, the status of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) and De-notified Tribes, have also been highlighted.

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great sir ji on the day of holi . articles are publishing wow
thnx sir happie holi

Arju Giri

Thank you very Much Sir.. please also provide History & Economic notes ..


Where are pvtg? And all …which are imp
For prelims


Thank you !! Relevant information is provided in all your articles !! Really helping


Thank you, sir. Quality content and information.


Sir pls provide this type of awesome quality for our easy understand……love you from bottom of my heart 💜



Snehal R. Waghmare



I am not clear about bhil is the largest tribe….or gond tribe ….
Please provide me the source…. it’s a question in my state PSC exam ….in which the answer is gond….


Excellent Initiative sir.. thanks a lot…


Good content…Very nice …Thank you


I think map point went wrong
Punjab,harayana states have no tribal groups but you pointed khasi tribes in Punjab too and khasi tribes mapping also went wrong .


yes, Khasi are confined only in North Eastern state of Meghalaya ( Khasi hill)


thnaks sir quality content and information

saket panigrahi

The largest Tribe is Gond and not Bhil. please correct that.