Lambadi, a nomadic community from Rajasthan, is known for their free-spirited yet self effacing lifestyle. It is rare to find people of this community mingling with the other parts of society. Since their very origin, a considerable number of Lambadi people are living in the north-western belt of the Indian subcontinent, setting up their residences in tents in the rural and less populated areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The nomadic lifestyle of these people has made them famous as Banjaras, a term derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Vanchara’ literal for wanderers in Jungle. The original name Lambadi or Lambani, however, is coined because of their traditional occupation of the salt transportation, salt being called Lavana in Sanskrit. Apart from these common facts, there isn’t much information available about the Lambadi community’s origin or history.
Nevertheless, the interesting art and culture of Lambadi people has kept their identity intact. The unique Lepo embroidery done by the Lambadi women is famous for its distinct geometrical patterns, use of bright colored threads and mirrors. The other arts synonymous with this community include Rangoli, tattooing and painting.
The most striking feature of Lambadi culture is the attire of their womenfolk, that includes brightly colored and embroidered apparels, bold and ferrous ornamental accessories (nose ring, ear ring, headdress), and bone-white bangles.
The other significant part of Lambadi’s culture is their exclusive festival – Teej. Though Teej is celebrated all over in Rajasthan, the festival, being the common occasion celebrated by them, has greater significance for Lambadis. The celebration of the festival lasts for nine days, during which time unmarried girls of the community, grow sprouts in a sanctified bamboo bowl, water it three times a day till the day of Teej, third day of Hindu calendar’s lunar month Shraavan.
On this day, all the young girls gather their seedling bowls in an open space, circle around the collection, and perform exuberant dances around them. In the end, the bowls are immersed in a local tank, with which the celebrations end.