Warm and welcoming, people of Rajasthan are cheerful and simple folks who are progressive and yet attached to their roots. People of different castes, creed and religion live together in harmony giving this state a multi-colored culture. According to a local adage,‘the dialect, cuisine, water and turban in Rajasthan change every 12 miles’. The turban or the head dress is worn in more than 1,000 different styles, which is governed by the region, caste and class of the wearer.
The population mainly comprises of the Meo and Meenas in Dholpur, Bharatpur, Jaipur and Alwar areas.
Travelling artisans and tradesmen are known as ‘banjaras’ or ‘wanderers. Iron smiths are known as lohar and they generally travel in bullock carts and work as repairmen in fields and houses.
Well known for their archery finesse, the Bhils are the oldest inhabitants of the country and are found in districts of Bhilwara, Chittaurgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara, Udaipur, and Sirohi. Mewar-Vagad region is known for Garasia and Kathodi, who are nomads. Rabaris in Mawar and Sahariyas of Baran are generally cattle breeders.
Rajputs or the warrior class along with Oswals who form a part of the Jain community and belong to Osiyan near Jodhpur are some of the well known ethnic groups of the state. Muslims form 10-15% of the population In olden days, the profession of the people decided their caste. This system has now been broken. Today, individuals have the freedom to opt for any profession irrespective of caste. The profession based caste system has now been transformed into birth-based caste system. People of various castes and sub-castes reside in Rajasthan. The Rajputs, who were the rulers of most of the erstwhile princely states of Rajasthan, form a major group of residents of Rajasthan. Rajputs are generally stoutly built people of good height. The Rajputs generally worshipped the Sun, Shiva, and Vishnu. Vedic religion is still followed by the Rajputs. All the auspicious and inauspicious activities are done in accordance to the Vedic traditions.
The other castes found in Rajasthan are as folows:
Brahmins : Their main occupation was worshipping and performance of religious rites.
Vaishya : These people generally took up business as their source of livelihood. These days they are settled in every nook and corner of the country.
There is a large group of agricultural castes to be found in Rajasthan.These people depend on Agriculture for thier livelihood. Some of these castes are Jat, Gurjar, Mali, Kalvi etc. Irrespective of the birth-based caste system, each individual is free to follow the profession / occupation as per choice, in modern Rajasthan.
Many tribes are also found in different parts of Rajasthan. These tribes have their own social systems and customs.Some of the commonly known tribs are Meena, Bhil, Garasia, Kanjar.