CHARANS & MALDHARIS

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» West India
» Gujarat
Region : Southern Kutch & The Gir Forest
Mostly Comprise Of : Hindus And Muslims




THE FOREST DWELLERS

The Charans, the long-established bards of Gujarat, encompass in their clans the Maldharis who raise prize cattle in southern Kachchh and the Gir Forest and the leather-workers known as Meghavals. They claim descent from a celestial union between Charan and a maiden created by Parvati, and many gain almost divine status after death. They use the Ghadhvi Kutchi or Gujarati language.

The women are often worshipped by other tribes, since their connection with Parvati links them closely to the mother Goddess, Ashpura, who is popular in Kachchh. The men's curses were once considered so powerful that they drove their opponents to kill themselves in the hope that the curse would be deflected upon the Charans: such "heroes" are remembered by stone monuments around Kachchh depicting a man piercing his neck with a dagger. Maldhari Tending Cattle at Gir - Gujarat

Elegant Dresses And Ornaments

Maldharis wear silver Sankri round the neck. They wear Dant and Kaan Kodhani pendant on chain, one clean teeth and the other to clean ears and 'Thoria' ear studs in central ear. Silver 'Halio' bracelet on arm. Men wear no ornaments on their feet but wear 'Veeti' on fingers.

Maldhari women have typical hairstyles or 'Kesh-Gunthan'. They apply ghee in hair and comb with 'Panthi', make Umbodo or a simple Ganth. They use wollen strings with woolen balls for making Umbodo. Married women make a parting in the hair and some wear gold or silver Chandalo, Tiko Bor or Damni in Hair Parting.

Simply Ethnic

The Maldhari men wear white short pleated Angadi (Kadiya), Chorno with a fitted bottom like Jodhpur, all year round. Maldharis from Surat are much more modern in their attires than their Gir counter parts. A woman has plucked and shaped eyebrows, only dot tattoos on face and not on arms.

Maldhari Charan women of Girkhantha wear black or red 'Thepadu', deep and dark coloured 'Kapadu', with its 'Kasti' or strings of dark colour, and 'Odhanu'.

Festive Rituals And Beliefs

Maldharis believe in the Ajmer Sharif called Pir Pegambar. Their Jumma prayers and Id celebrations are held in Sasan. For Dussera (also spelt as Dussehra) many people gather at Patrama village in Medhadha Taluka to do Mata puja. The celebrations are done without any Rass, just Bahajans are sung. They also celebrate Id-ul-Fitr at Ramzan, observe Moharrum, Bakri Id or Id-ul-Zuha.



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