Sahariya is the most backward tribe found in the districts of Dungarpur, Kota and Baran, of Rajasthan. A majority have settled in some areas of Madhya Pradesh.

The tribe name is said to be derived from the Arabian word 'Sehara', which means 'wilderness'. The present designation 'Sahariya' was give by some Muslim rulers, who found them residing in Jungle. The term 'Sahr' means ' the jungle'.

The community members live in separate basti in the village, which is called Saharana. This clan speaks a dialect influenced by Hadoti. They engage in agriculture and forest wealth collection. Other areas of activity include hunting and fishing.

Sahariyas have their own secretive customs and regulations. The elder son lives separately after his marriage and the younger son has to take the responsibilities of the whole family. Marriages are permissible after attaining the age of 15 years.

The tribe members believe in Hinduism. They worship Goddess Tejaji, Dhakar Baba, Durga, Hanuman, Lalbai and Bejasan. Savni Amavasya, Janmashtami, Raksha Bandhan, Deepavali, Holi and Teja Dashmi are some among the major festivals celebrated by them.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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