The Gonds, or Koyathor, as they call themselves, are one of the most significant of the primitive central Indian tribes. They live mainly in the Chhindwara District
of Madhya Pradesh
, but have also settled in other parts of the State like Betul, in the Bastar District
and in parts of Andhra Pradesh
The Gonds have a rich legendary history. In the fourteenth century they were the ruling class in many parts of central India. During this time several small Gond kingdoms were consolidated by Gond kings to form a Gond dynasty. They built numerous palaces, forts, tanks and lakes, but were overcome by Muslim armies in 1592. Towards the end of the eighteenth century the Gonds had scattered into many tribes.
Maria, Muria, and Dorla are some of the subcastes of the Gond Tribe. They have a complex social structure and a wealth of artistic heritage. Agriculture, collecting minor forest produce, fishing, and hunting are their main activities. The Gonds are Hindus and they make idols of their deities with flour, sugar and ghee. The languages they speak are Dravidian.