(Last Updated on : 04/07/2011)
The tribes of Kerala
are generally short in height. They are also well-built with flat nose. The tribes in the state of Kerala grow very long hair and they tie it by forming hair locks. According to the Government sources there are 35 tribal communities in Kerala.
Origin of Tribes of Kerala
The mountainous regions of Kerala are inhibited by the tribal communities. They are reckoned as the descendants of the Negrito race. A majority of these tribes of Kerala build their settlements in the dense forest grounds and also on the top of the mountains As a result of the rugged topography of the region, these tribes of Kerala remain undisturbed by any kind of invasion from the foreigners, especially the Aryans
The tribes of Kerala differ from each other depending upon the region they reside. All the tribes of Kerala build a rich, unique, varied and critical element of Indian tradition. The major tribes of Kerala are namely Urali tribe
, Paniyan tribe
, Kapu tribe
, Kanikkar tribe
, Kadar tribe
Various Tribal Communities of kerala
The Panyan tribal people of Kerala reside in some parts of Wayanad district
, Malappuram district and Kannur district. The word 'Paniyan' signifies 'worker' and there are several occupations that are practiced by this tribal community including Podu or shifting cultivation. Monogamy is generally practiced in this tribe.
Irula, and belongs to the famous Dravidian language
family. Another is the Pulaya
tribe which falls into the list of various tribes of Kerala. Mainly due to the wealth of several art forms, namely, Margam kali dance
and Chimmanakal, eminent anthropologists have held this tribal community in high esteem. They are the followers of Hinduism and also believe in spirits and magic. Kadar tribe of Kerala has a rich heritage of adapting the profession of food collection and some of them are the practitioners of art and culture.
Most of the Kanikkar tribal people have a tradition of practicing unique rites and rituals at the time of celebrating wedding and also death. In Kerala, the Ulladan tribe resides in every corner of districts including the Idukki district
, Kottayam district
, Pathanamthitta district
and the Quilon district
Culture of tribes of Kerala
Festivals, dance and music are the integral part of the life style of these tribes. Fairs and festivals are a part and parcel of the tradition and culture of these Keralite tribes. Especially during the festive seasons, the whole population of the tribes of Kerala gets enthralled by the dance, music and get engross with the mood of jubilation and frenzy. Most of the tribal women use two different pieces of cloth to wrap them. On various occasions, silver, iron
, bronze and gold
jewelleries are used by them.
Religion of tribes of Kerala
According to the observations of the anthropologists of the Indian subcontinent, these tribes of Kerala
state have developed ardent faith on spiritualism and religion. Almost all the tribes of Kerala follow religion, which is cantered round Animism. They appease devils for calamities and sickness. Apart from this, there is a plethora of local gods and goddesses, whom majority of these tribes of Kerala revere and show immense respect and veneration. Worship of Amman or Goddess Kali
and Ayyan or Ayyappan is quite common.
Apart from these tribal communities, a number of other tribes are scattered in the land of Kerala. The name of Malamalasar tribal community has got a place in the 'Encyclopedia of Indian Tribes' (1989) for their enriched tradition and culture. Marati tribe
is one of the primitive tribes of Kerala with a population of about 22,196. Some other tribes of Kerala are Koraga, Kota
, Kudiya, Melakudi, Kurichchan, Kurumans, Maha Malasar, Malai Arayan, Malai Pandaram, Malakkuravan, etc.