Tribals in Odisha


Odisha is a state of great interest and fascination as it is home to as many as 62 tribes, many of which date back to ancient times when comes to their origination. Forming a large chunk of the state population, these tribes are known for their diverse cultures, languages and traditions, which make them an attraction for the tourists who come here.

Here is a list of some of the Famous Tribals of Odisha:


The largest tribal group of the state is the Kondhs, also known as the Kui, who reside in the slopes of Niyamgiri Range of North West Koraput area. They have a rich culture and speak in Dravidian language with slight regional variations. The members of this tribe are strong and have average height. They are hard working people with honest values.


One of the most ancient tribal races in Odisha is the Sauras, who inhabit the distant villages lying in the mountain folds of Gunupur area in the southern part of the state. These tribals make their living by hunting, using axes to hunt their prey. They are also swift climbers and walkers.


A tribe known for its ferocity and independence is the Bondas, which resides in the inaccessible areas of the higher and mountainous regions above River Machakunda. They are considered to be savage people and want to live in isolation, undisturbed by the civilization.


Another tribal race in Odisha is the Santals, the tribe known for building beautifyl houses. They also have a deep love for nature and belief in the Supreme Diety, whom they revere as Thakurji. These people live a very hygienic and organized lifestyle and are also known as the producers of the traditional fabric called Tussar.


Gonds are the warrior caste of tribals, who reside in the hill tracts of the southern as well as central part of the country including Odisha. These people hold ceremonial sacrifices before planting crops in their fields. In addition to agriculture, they are engaged in activities like fishing, hunting and metal forging.


Bhumias are the tribals who reside in Malkangiri, Phulbani, Koraput, Sundergarh and Gangam districts of the state. They make the second largest tribe of the state by population. The tribals have an efficient system of administration, with village headmen leading each village of the tribe.


One of the most progressive tribals of the state of Odisha are the Oraons, who are economically well settled, and own proper means of transport such as bicycles and motor bikes. They make use of modern techniques of farming, with usage of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides for better crop. These people have a good standard of living as compared to the other tribals of the state.


Koyas are a scheduled tribe, which reside in the hilly areas of Godaviri district of Odisha. The tribe boasts of a two hundred year old culture and tradition and also has a large population. They lead a nomadic lifestyle, with the entire villages moving from one place to another.


The Parajas or Porajas are the tribals who live in the hilly regions of Koraput and Ganjam. They make their living by hill cultivation and are divided into seven classes in the basis of tradition and languages.


Another primitive tribe of Odisha is the Gadava tribe, which literally means the one who bears load on his shoulders. These people are engaged in the work of carrying palanquins and bearing loads along the hills, in addition to agricultural activities. They live in the south of Vishakhapatnam and speak Mundari dialect.

Some other famous tribes of Odisha include didayees, matias, bathudis and kolhas. All these tribes draw attention because of their strange customs and traditions.