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The Rabari of Jawai 

A day in photographs. 

Kalu Ram herding his goats through a field of freshly cut mustard.

For centuries humans and animals have shared the Jawai hills, living in complete harmony. Spirituality, combined with tradition and culture has played a role in this coexistence. These communities, who live here as our neighbours amongst wildlife play a vital role in shaping the future of our conservation mission here at SUJÁN JAWAI.

As you traverse the granite hills and mustard fields, wander along the waters and down the dusty tracks, and you see the occasional splash of red from the Rabari tribesmen, adding a dash of colour and vibrancy to this land. The name of this local tribe is 'Rabari' is derived from word ‘Rehaan’, meaning 'a person who shows the path.'

According to legend, Lord Mahadeva, (an incarnation of Lord Shiva) created the first camel for the amusement of his lover, Parvati. In order to look after the camel, he created a caretaker and called him a ‘Rabari’, hence why this tribe have received their name. Keeping animals is therefore regarded as a near sacred occupation by the Rabari who see themselves as their herds' custodians rather than their owners. Also called Rewari or Desai, the Rabari are an indigenous tribal caste of nomadic cattle, camel herders and shepherds.

This week we share some pictures that give you an insight into the daily routine of some of a Rabari family here at Jawai.

The lady of the house preps a quick breakfast on a traditional ‘Choola’ (stove)

She will also make a packed lunch for her husband before he heads out with his livestock to the grazing lands of Jawai.

Meanwhile our friend, Vajha Ram is sat outside the house on a ‘Chaarpai’ a traditional woven bed while his son closely watches with concentration how he intricately ties each round of his turban.

Once his turban is tied he gathers his goats out of the pen & walks through the village streets off into the grazing lands.

An elderly Rabari seen heading out with his Y shaped fork know as a ‘bewla’ which is used to remove thorny bushes and clear their path. It also has a safety sickle used to get tender leaves, pods and branches from the higher reaches of the trees for his livestock.

A young Rabari in the making poses for the camera!

A Rabari is always keeping a close eye on his herd.

Walking side by side.

As dusk arrives, the Rabari head home with their herds. Here we saw a mixed herd of about 50 buffaloes and cows that obediently made there way back to the village while the sun was beginning to set.


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