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.
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.
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
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'.
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.