The Savaras are an ancient tribe of hunters widespread in Orissa
. They are also found in Bihar
, Andhra Pradesh
, Madhya Pradesh
and West Bengal
. They are called by various names: Sabara, Saur, Sora and Saura. The name ‘Saura’ has been derived from two words namely ‘Sagories’ (meaning an axe) and ‘Saba Raye’ (carrying a dead body.)
Savaras are referred to in Aitareya Brahmana, the Ramayana
and the Mahabharata
. They believe in forest spirits. Savaras worship their ancestors and Goddess Sarvasavaranam Bhagavati (Goddess Durga). They are best known for their wall paintings called ‘ikon’.
Their language is an uncultivated one and varies from individual to individual and region to region. Their dress consists of loin cloth of about six ft long.
Savaras build their houses on the slopes or foothills. Houses are rectangular in shape, built of bamboo and wood plastered with mud. The walls of the houses are made of stone and are colored red with red earth. Hunting, cultivation and fishery are their chief occupations.