Other languages include Malvi, Urdu, Gujrati, Marathi and Marwari.
Nimadi is spoken in the Manawar and Kukshi tahsils bordering
West Nimar district. The Hindi speakers have shown a steady increase,
partly due to the decrease in speakers of Malwi, which is spoken in
the plateau region of the district. Bhili/Bhilali is the most commonly
spoken dialect of Kukshi tahsil, followed by Manawar tahsil
where it is next only to Hindi.
Meeting a lady carrying an earthen pot full of water on her head or
meeting a saint is considered a good omen. The fall of a meteor is
correlated with the demise of a big man somewhere. A little curd is
given to the person who is going out for achieving some thing. Similarly,
a cat crossing one's path, seeing a one eyed man, a barking dog ,
etc., are considered ominous.
If a dog moves its ears up and down, when one is going for some important
work, it is considered ominous.
Mostly, Kachcha and pakka bricks are utilised in villages.
Locally available wood, bamboos, various types of grasses, etc., with
country tiles, are employed as roofing material. The huts of the tribal
people are simple and scattered. In towns, all types of houses are
constructed with latrine, bathroom, etc. Bhoomi-pojan is a
necessary prerequisite in almost all construction activities. House
construction in the month of Phalgun (February / March) is
avoided by the local people. The main door of the house is never kept
towards south. Some jowar grains are kept at night on the soil,
and covered with khakra (tesu palash) leaves. In the
morning, if ants are seen around the grain, or if the grains are not
found intact, the construction activity is not initiated.
Furniture and decorations
The tribal is satisfied with his well knit cot, which is generally
lower in level than the ordinary cot. The kulmis , sirvis and
jats are well to do people and, therefore, they keep charpoy,
almirah, takhat, benches, etc.
Decoration in the houses is limited to towns alone. Decoration is
generally absent in an average village household. It is only at the
time of marriage, etc. that some colour figures are painted on either
side of the main entrance. Some floral border designs are also drawn
on ceremonial occasions on the walls, and rangoli designs on
floor. Sometimes people paste film advertisements on the walls apart
from framed pictures of deities and national leaders.
The windows and doors of the houses of big agriculturists, which were
constructed long back, are carved. The new constructions seldom use
carved items. Plain figures are in vogue.
Pagadi or safa, bandi and dhoti among
males and kanchli, ghaghara, lugada (lehnga) among females
is the dress of common village-folk. School-going boys wear chaddi
and shirt and the girls, polka, ghaghri or frock. Tribals
wear short dhotis when they come in contact with urban dwellers.
In jungles their men-folk are fully satisfied with the shorter langot.
In towns and kasbas, the dress pattern has rapidly changed.
Mill clothes have reached interior villages as well. All types of
modern dresses worn in big cities can be seen, though often they are
limited to a few educated and well-to-do people. Medium coarse ready-made
clothes purchased from the weekly markets are generally more in use.
On festive occasions, coloured printed garments, mostly of cotton,
are preferred to routine full whites. Tribal people are fond of colourful
In villages, people wear shoes, manufactured by the village cobbler
out of raw leather. They are strong and stout enough to be used while
performing agricultural or other hard manual operations. Villagers
purchase shoes from the nearby weekly markets.
Tribals wear silver or kathir ornaments. They wear Kadas
(bracelets) and kangni on hand and hansli and haar
on the neck adorn them. Their women decorate themselves with aluminium
or silver bracelets on the wrist with armbands on the upper-arm,
hansli or silver haar on the neck, bali on the
ear-lobes, zele on the forehead, silver kandora on the
waist-line, aluminium kad on the lower leg and bichhudi
on the toes. They also wear champak, payal, etc., on the feet.
Women of upper strata of society wear these ornaments. But instead
of baser metals, the rich class wear gold ornaments on the upper part
of their body and of silver on the lower part, waist-line being the
Girls wear silver or aluminium pyjeb on their feet and silver
or golden locket or chain on the neck. Various types of artificial
earrings are also worn by them. Small children of either sex are decorated
with silver pyjeb and cheap bead garlands.
In Bhil, Bhilala, Banjara, Meghwal, Charan, Kahar and Kumhar
(potter) tribes and castes, especially among women, tattooing is very
common. A lovely flower, own name or image of a god, an ox, a lion,
a watch, a peacock or any bird are generally tattooed on arms. Tribal
boys and girls get a line of dots tattooed over the eye-brows and
women on the chin. The period between engagement and marriage proper
is ideal for tattooing. It is generally not performed after marriage.
Tribal women are customarily very fond of getting their body permanently
ornamented with tattooing. Commonly the arms, the feet, the cheek,
etc. are tattooed. Black or green ink is imprinted upon the skin in
desired designs. Professional tattooers used to engrave these designs
in indigenous ways. But now, a small battery-operated machine is generally
employed for it.
Wheat, Jowar and maize form the staple food of the peasantry
both in the rural and urban areas. Arahar dal is taken along
with roti. In the evening, rabdi (ghat or thuli)
of maize is relished. It is prepared by boiling maize-thuli
together with chhachh (butter-milk).
On festivals puri made of wheat-flour and fried in oil, is
eaten. With this, kheer made of rice, milk and sugar is also
Tea is popular. In the morning along with tea, usually poha or some
other preparation is taken for breakfast. Non-vegetarians prefer eggs
At lunch, roti and dal with a seasonal vegetable and
sometimes rice form the common food items of the middle classes or
the working population.
Amusement and Festivals
Dhar district has been on the cultural map of India since time immemorial.
People used to engage themselves in fine arts such as painting, sculpture,
music, dancing, etc.
Many of the Bagh cave paintings of the Gupta period have now been
destroyed but whatever remain tell us about the high attainment during
that period. There is a beautiful painting regarding music and dance,
which is an example of the oriental Hallisak dance. The depiction
of nature in its affluent forms, together with male and female figures
in various emotional poses is the treasure of these caves. The construction
of magnificent buildings, forts, temples, mosques, etc., during the
medieval period at Dhar, Mandu and the surroundings indicate the engagements
and amusements of the people of those days.
Young people even today draw inspiration from the famous love story
of Baaz-Bahadur and Roopmati. In literature, music, dance, painting
and sculpture Dhar has a very rich heritage.
During the middle of the 16th century, the science of music had attained
considerable perfection in Malwa and it is said that Baaz Bahadur
devoted himself to its cultivation and encouragement. His attachment
to Rani Roopmati at that time become famous and the "Loves of Baaz
Bahadur and Roopmati " have been handed down to posterity in song.
In rural areas, community bhajan singing at the village chaupals
in the night with the accompaniment of harmonium (peti) mridang,
tabala, dholak-manjire, mandal, zanch, kundi, thali, payli
and dhak, etc., is the most common amusement.
Vasant Panchami, Maha Shivaratri, Holi, Ramnavmi, Raksha-Bandhan,
Nag-Panchmi, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Anant Chaturdashi, Sarva
Pitri Amavsya, Dusshera, Deepawali, Dol Gyaras, Hanuman Jayanti,
etc., are celeberated with great religious zeal and enthusiasm by
the Hindus Shradha Paksha (fortnight) is celeberated from poornima
of Bhadra to amavasya Kunwar.
Popular festivals of Muslims include muharram, Id, Miladunabi,
etc., which they celebrate with their traditional gaiety.
Christians celebrate Christmas and Good Friday and Jains, Mahavir
Jayanti and Paryooshan etc. In some castes, Radeoji
and Tejaji are worshipped once in a year on their jayantis
and their respective kathas are performed. The dates of celebration
are different in the various tahsils.
Pilgrim Centres and
There are many religious place scattered throughout the district where
people congregate at annual fairs arranged on auspicious occasions.
Koteshwar, Khakrol and Badnawar in Badnwar tahsil; Bhopawar,
Sagwal and Amjhera in Sardarpur; Mandav, Kesur Dhar and Sagor in Dhar
tahsil; Lingwa and Kotda in Kukshi tahsil Dhamnod in
Dharampuri tahsil, Manawar, Bakaner and Singhana in Manawar
tahsil, are a few out of a total about 40 such pilgrim centres.
Hanuman jayanti and Shivratri respectively attract thousands
of pilgrims from the interiors of the District and outside, to the
places of worship where special worship is offered to the concerned
Gal and Hazrat Biyabani Yatra, Shantinathji ka Mela, Tejaji
ka Mela, Ambikaji ka Mela, Urs Kamal-ud-din and Gular Shah Urs
attract thousands of followers.
Mother goddess in various forms is worshipped with special reverence.
Ambika Devi (Dhar and Dhammod) Mangala Devi (Manawar)
Shitalamata Devi (Bakaner) Harsiddhi Mata (Singhana)
and Jagni Mata (Jhiriya pura), are a few examples.
Mandu is the famous place where Jehangir came and stayed with Nur
Jehan. He was accompanied by Sir Thomas Roe, the English ambassador.
Jehangir wrote "I know of no place so pleasant in climate and so pretty
in scenery as Manu in the rainy season. Shah Jahan too spent the rainy
season of the year 1622 in Mandu. The famous Ram Navami fair is organised
here by the mahant of the temple on Chaitra Sudi (March/April),
in which thousands of people participate.
Communal Dances and
Fagun nach is arranged by tribals for 3 days on the festival
occasion of Holi, in which as many of them as possible participate,
regardless of age or sex. Similarly Bhagoria nach is danced
on Holi. The time taken ranges from a minimum of 2 hours to a maximum
of 24 hours. On Kamlia Purnima, Patal nach is danced by adult
males alone for the whole night. Tribals celebrate Bhagoria
on the weekly bazaar day before Holi. They drink and dance for merry-making
in the accompaniment of Dhol. People observe fast on Nav Durga
celebrations and dance and act before the statue of mother goddess
Source : District Gazetteer, Dhar published by Directorate of
Gaetteers, Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal.