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The ‘Heart of India’ situated right in the centre of a multi cultural and divine heritage country, popularly known as Madhya Pradesh (MP), is famous for its heritance. The meaning of Madhya Pradesh literally means Central Province.
No other state in India, but Madhya Pradesh, enmeshes so many different flavors of tradition and culture. The state is a cauldron that incessantly connects the various aspects of its multi-dimensional culture and still upholds a beautifully amalgamated heritage that retains its distinctive zeal. It is home to people professing all the major religions of India, who dwell in perfect harmony and amity. Apart from them, numerous colorful tribes add on to the vibrant cultural collage of the state. In fact, variety finds manifestation in spectacular forms here.
Madhya Pradesh is a harmonious convention of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Tribes, Sikhism and Christianity and is also said to be the second largest state of India. Dominated by tribal communities, this state of central India is rich in civilization. The blend of the various traditions of the different groups has made the culture of the state vibrant and multi-dimensional, be it music and dance or art and craft, the state has all.
The varied forms of art and crafts of Madhya Pradesh even contribute to the society. Apart from adding a unique charm, handicrafts of this state of central India reflect the painstaking craftsmanship of the place. Chanderi and Maheshwari silk sarees are some of the noteworthy crafts of the state. Bastar, Bilaspur, Bhopal, Bundelkhand, Gondwana, Indore, Khajuraho, Malwa, Mandla, Gwalior, Jhabua, Raigarh, Shahdol and Ujjain are some of the prominent centers of the state's art and crafts. Some of the major forms of Madhya Pradesh handicrafts are as follows:
Some of the most popular tribal groups residing in the state are Baigas, Bhilals, Bhils, Gonds, Halba, Kamaras, Kols, Korkens, Murias, Oraons and Sahariya. Among these tribes, Bhils are said to be a group of hunters and warriors. Most of the Oraons have converted to the religion of Christianity. Though they used to be semi-nomads in the earlier ages, but now almost everyone has settled down with their chosen occupation. In order to earn livelihood, they involve themselves in varied activities. Agriculture is the main occupation of the Panikas and the Khaiwas whereas the Mangetri Pradhans earn their livelihood by dancing and singing. Some of these tribes have even moved towards the city to be in a rewarding profession. Many people from the tribal background are, nowadays, found to be working as a worker in factories or as a shopkeeper or street hawker.
Interestingly, modernization could not deviate them from their unique age old traditions and customs. The rituals vary from one tribal community to another. Some of the rituals have even got educational significance since; they teach lessons on moral values to the younger generation. However, in recent times, many tribal groups have started following Hindu customs during ceremonies related to birth, marriage and death. The tribal communities of Bhilalas and Bhils follow an exclusive method of marriage, where life partner is chosen in Bhagoriya Haat, a special festival fair.
In spite of living in a subdued environment, they are quite developed and good by heart. The caring, warm and welcoming nature of these people of Madhya Pradesh makes them stand unique from others.
The dressing patterns of the Madhya Pradesh people vary drastically from one region to another. However, majority of the male community wears dhoti along with Bandi, which is a kind of jacket and a head gear. Most of their clothes are very colorful. Most of the women of the state wear Lehenga and Choli with an Orni or Lugra, which is an additional cloth wrapped around their head and shoulders. Apart from this, the female community of Madhya Pradesh even wears saris. The colors of red and black are two of the most favored color shades used in feminine costumes.
The language of Hindi forms the main language of the state. However, being the residence of a number of tribal communities, the locals of the place even speak some tribal languages like Gondi and Bhili. Apart from the languages of Gujarati, Marathi, Sindhi and Urdu, dialects of Bundelkhandi and Malwi are spoken in the state.
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