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Rabari

Rabari
For almost 1,000 years, the Rabari have roamed the deserts and plains of what is today western India. It is believed that this tribe, with a peculiar Persian physiognomy, migrated from the Iranian plateau more than a millennium ago. The Rabari are now found largely in Gujarat and Rajasthan. 
“It is morning whenever you wake up"
The Rabari women dedicate long hours to embroidery, a vital and evolving expression of their crafted textile tradition. They also manage the hamlets and all money matters while the men are on the move with the herds. The livestock, wool, milk and leather, is their main source of income.
Artprint available soon

- Jimmy Nelson

Ajabgarh Vilage, Rajasthan

February 2012

Rabari have a very rich cultural past and present. Embroidery is a vital,
living and evolving expression of the crafted textile tradition of the
Rabaris. As far back as the tribe’s collective memory stretches, Rabari
women have diligently embroidered textiles as an expression of
creativity, aesthetics and identity. Designs are taken from mythology
and the tribe’s desert surroundings. Girls learn the art of embroidery
at a young age, practising their new-found skills by working on a
collection of embroidered items that will later become their dowry.
This collection can sometimes take two or three years to complete.

Artprint available soon

- Jimmy Nelson

Rabari Noblemen, Rajasthan

February 2012

While the men are on the move in search of grazing pastures for their livestock, the women and children remain in the villages. The villages are usually small, featuring no more than the most basic amenities, and they are almost always set in bleak, barren surroundings.
In a typical village, two-room rectangular houses (vandhas) with
whitewashed mud walls and tiled roofs may look stark, but the interior
decoration of these houses reflect the Rabari’s fondness for adornments of all sorts.
Artprint available soon

- Jimmy Nelson

Trajuva

February 2012

For hundreds of years, the tribal women have practiced tattooing for
decorative, religious and therapeutic purposes.
Traditional patterns (trajuva) are passed down through the generations.
The female elders of the tribe women still work as tattoo artists at fairs,
festivals and markets where the Rabari gather to trade their goods. 
Nearly all surfaces of the body are tattooed. 
Artprint available soon

- Jimmy Nelson

Woman in Ajabgarth Village

February 2012

Rabaris can be easily identified by looking at their womenfolk, who usually
wear long black headscarves (lobadi) and distinctive heavy brass earrings.
They tattoo magical symbols on their necks, breasts and arms.
Artprint available soon

- Jimmy Nelson

Shri Raghunathji Temple, Amanbagh, Rajasthan

February 2012

Deriving its name from Aman, meaning ‘peace’ in Sanskrit and bagh,
meaning garden in Hindi, Amanbagh lies within a walled compound
once used by the Maharajah of Alwar to site his mobile hunting camps in
search of the elusive tigers known to roam the nearby hills. Long since
abandoned, the trees and vegetation continue to thrive due to a suitable
water supply drawn from an adjacent lake.

Ajabgarh’s fort and the old temple, dedicated to Shri Raghunathji, built
in 1635 AD, with its 24-pillared open courtyard and marble facade.
This temple once housed an idol of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita bejewelled
with precious stones. It was removed by thieves some time ago. The temple
and Ajabgarh fort are connected by an underground passage originally
designed for use by the royal ladies so they could enter the temple in
complete privacy.
Artprint available soon

- Jimmy Nelson

Rathanambore National Park

February 2012

Rabari are devout Hindus. According to their myths, they were created by
Parvati, the consort of Shiva. As Shiva was meditating, Parvati wiped the
dust and sweat from his body and modelled the very first camel from the
dust balls she collected. Once Shiva had breathed life into the camel, it
kept running away.

So, Parvati fashioned and gave life to a man – the first Rabari – to look
after the camel. Keeping animals has thus always been a devout
occupation and the Rabari people see themselves primarily as custodians,
rather than owners, of animals. It is also their belief that Parvati is their
guardian. Her advice is taken on many occasions and animals are
commended to her care.
Artprint available soon

- Jimmy Nelson

Krishna’s birthday

February 2012

Marriage, which celebrates the vitality of life and ensures its continuity,
is  considered of utmost importance. Traditionally, weddings can be
extravagant events, and they take place on a particular day of the year:
the feast of Gokulashtami, Krishna’s birthday.

Childhood marriage is still very much in vogue with the tribe.
Rabaris marry only within the tribe and often into families that are closely related.
Artprint available soon

- Jimmy Nelson

Rabari women

February 2012

The women are shrewd and intelligent and manage the hamlets and all money matters. Going to the local village or town markets is an important part of daily life. There, the Rabari women trade milk and milk products from their livestock. Wool and leather are sold in order to purchase commodities
they do not produce themselves. Rabari women dedicate long hours to sewing,
traditional embroidery and bead work.
Artprint available soon

- Jimmy Nelson

Rabari Nobleman

February 2012

A Rabari man commonly appears in white dress, sporting golden earrings.

Although only about one to two percent of the Rabari still practise an entirely nomadic lifestyle, the main sources of Rabari income remain livestock and 
related products such as milk, wool, leather and dung.
Shepherds are often hired to herd the combined livestock of entire villages,
with flocks sometimes numbering more than 500.

Artprint available soon

- Jimmy Nelson

Outsiders

February 2012

It is believed that this tribe, with a peculiar Persian physiognomy, migrated from the Iranian plateau more than a millennium ago.

Their name, meaning ‘outsider’, refers to the fact that as nomadic herders,
they would be found not within town walls, but in the periphery and further,
where there was enough land for their grazing herds.