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Art and Culture of Mandla

Mandla district in Madhya Pradesh boosts of a rich culture & unique traditions dating back to hundreds of years. Prominently a tribal dominated area the region reflects the art forms, culture & religious beliefs of the tribal community residing here. Gond & Baiga tribes are the major tribes of Mandla District; these people were earlier forest dwellers but have now adapted to the modern city lifestyle and have become economically well-settled. The people are staunch followers of religion & worship their ancestors. Petty local disputes & other social matters are mostly settled by the tribal council in the presence of Mukadama or the Village Headman. The people of Mandla are simple, kind-hearted & helpful by nature and live in complete unity & harmony with other communities, thus displaying a spirit of brotherhood.

Culture of Mandla
Folk Dance of Mandla

Folk Dance & Music of Mandla

Music, Dancing & Songs hold a position of great importance in the day to day life of the residents of Mandla District. The tribal people spend their free time enjoying & singing their traditional folk songs giving an expression to their joys & sorrows. The folk music of Mandla depicts the beauty of their unique tribal culture with a song especially created for every season and festival. Dancing and singing goes on with much enthusiasm sometimes during the whole day and night, especially on special occasions like weddings, festivals or during the harvesting season. The Folk dance form of the tribal groups is popularly known as Karma; the name being derived from a plant – Karma which is commonly grown in this region.At the starting of the folk dance a stem of the plant known as 'Karam Kalla' is fixed in the ground at the center and the dancers then dance enthusiastically around this stem.

Festivals of Mandla

Festivals bring a time of joy & celebrities in the day-today life of the common man giving him a much needed opportunity to relax and enjoy the festivities. The people of Mandla also celebrate their festivals with much pomp & show. The festivals of this region are mostly related to the harvest season, local tribal customs & agricultural cycle. Besides the major festivals like Diwali, Holi, Id & Christmas, local festivals and fairs are celebrated throughout the year lending a spirit of festivity & merry-making to the region. A major festival celebrated in Mandla is the Hareli Festival, which is also the festival of rains. Celebrated in the months of July and August, the Hareli festival derives its name from the Hindi word, 'Haryali' which means greenery as during this time one can find greenery all around. Other important festivals & ceremonies of the region are Khyania, Nawa Feast, Bidri ceremony & Chait Gal which are also celebrated with equal zeal by the tribal communities. After the harvesting of the paddy crop, when the people are relatively free from their agricultural work and have their stores filled with grain, a huge fair known as Melamadai is organised for a week. Inaugurated by the Head of the Village, the fair witnesses huge participation of local people.

Art & Craft of Mandla

Mandla being one of the main bamboo producing regions in Madhya Pradesh, the traditional craft of Bamboo & Cane Canopy is quiet popular here. The tribal communities make beautiful baskets, hunting tools and fishing traps from bamboo which attracts the tourist coming to the region. Intricately designed Bamboo thickets used as doors in houses are also an added attraction of Mandla region. Folk Paintings, stone carvings, textile weaving, iron carving, textile printing, etc. are some of the other crafts of the region.

Languages in Mandla

People of different religions & tribes live in Mandla city, thus giving it a cosmopolitan culture. Many languages like Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi & English being spoken here. The local languages of the region are Gondi popular among the Gond tribe, Agariya, which is an Austroasiatic language and Bagheli, which is similar to Hindi. Besides this Bharia is another Dravidian language written in the Devanagari script and spoken mainly by the Bharia Tribe.

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