In Rajasthan, certain cities are named after the Bhil Kings who once ruled the region. Kota, for instance got its name from Kotya Bhil; Bansara is derived from Bansiya Bhil; and Dungarpur is named after Dungariya Bhil.

This website focuses on the Bhils who live in the villages of Choti Undri and Badi Undri in the Udaipur region. For the past millennium they have lived along the Inya Parvat, a range of hills covering 2000 hectares of land across 12 villages. There are 12 Shiva temples scattered around this range. On auspicious days the Bhils circle the Inya Parvat on foot, covering 12 km in 12 hours.

The Inya Parvat with its Shiva temples is sacred to the community, and tales associated with it have nourished their collective imagination through the ages. One story of a cowherd’s greed has a profound effect on young minds. In the story, the cowherd finds a golden bough. He greedily begins to break one branch after another from the tree. But his greed turns the golden bough back into wood.

The Udaipur Bhils decorate the walls of their houses and temples with images of the gods, flowers, animals and birds. They call these wall paintings mandno. Bhil mandno are stylized line drawings. In 1984 when the cultural officers of Tribal Research Institute of Udaipur were sent to this region, they encouraged artists like Goma Pargi and Phula Pargi to transfer these designs to paper and canvas. Since then the Bhils have been using these materials, while continuing their tradition of painting on the walls of their houses and temples.

They all work as daily wage earners. A closer look at individual artists and their work provides an insight into Bhil art and culture.