19 Major Tribes of Tripura

A Tripuri Couple
A Tripuri Couple
There are 19 major and minor tribal communities in Tripura. According to 2011 population census, they make up 31.76 per cent of the total Tripura's population. Tripuri is the largest tribal group and they make up around 17 per cent of the total population. They are followed by Riang, Jamatia and Chakma tribes. They are predominantly rural and almost one-third of tribal population of Tripura lives in the Western region of the state.

These tribes can be divided into two groups: one who are considered original inhabitants and second are immigrants. The original tribes include Tripuri, Reang, Jamatia, Noatia, Lushai, Uchai, Chaimal, Halam, Kuki, Garo, Mog and Chakma whereas immigrant tribes include Bhil, Munda, Santhal,  Lepcha, Meiteis and Khasia. Thes immigrant tribes has came from states like Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Bhutan, Meghalaya and Sikkim.

Linguistically, the tribes are divided into (i) Bodo-Tripuri, Reang, Jamatia, Noatia and  Uchai (ii) Kuki-Chin–Kuki,  Lushai  and  Halam and (iii) Arakan-Mog and Chakmas.

Sex Ratio
As of 2011 population census, the sex ratio stands at 983 which has considerably improved from 970 in 2001. The Jamatia has best ratio among large tribes, standing at 1011 females per 1000 males, whereas Orang has lowest sex ratio standing at 891. However, the child sex ratio (0-6 age group) has significantly fallen from 981 to 957 girl child per thousand boy child.

Literacy Rate
The literacy rate of Tripura tribals stand at 79.1 per cent with male literay standing at 86.4 per cent and female literacy standing at 71.6 per cent. Lushai with the literay rate of 97.8 is most literate tribe where as Orang with the literay rate of 53.0 is the least literate tribe.

Work Participation Ratio
The Work Participation Ratio stands at 43.8 per cent in 2011 which has improved from 42.7 per cent in 2001. Out of which 64.5 per cent are main workers whereas 35.5 per cent are marginal workers.

Religion
More than 80 per cent tribals follow Hinduism, followed by Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. Most of those who follow Hinduism, either follow Shakti or Vaishanism.

19 Tribes of Tripura
Bhils
Bhils have mainly migrated from Madhya Pradesh and Bihar in Tripura. They are mostly engaged in agriculture and other odd jobs. They are mainly concentrated in Akinpur of Belonia, Bagan Bazar of Khowai Sub-Division. Most of them are Hindus. However, a small percentage of them are now following Christianity.

Bhutia
Bhutias are Himalayan tribe. As of 2011 census, there are only 28 of them in the state. Most of them are engaged in the government jobs or doing their business. They are known as the warrior tribe.

Chaimal
Chaimal is a small tribal group of Tripura. mostly concentrated in Ambassa of Dhalai District. They call themselves as "Saimar". As per 2011 census, there population stands at 549. They are of Cocaso-Mongoloid origin. They speak in a language originated from Kuki-Chin group of language. They are mostly jhum cultivators.

Garo
Garo is another migrant tribe in Tripura. They are originally from Garo Hills (Meghalaya) in Assam and Mymansing region of Bangladesh. They migrated during the first half of the 19th century and then after partition of India. At present, there population stands at 12952. They are mostly concentrated in the Udaipur and Sadar divisions of Tripura.

Halam
Halam are of the Cocase-Mongoloid origin. Their language is more or less similar to that of Tibeto-Burman family. They are also known as Mila Kuki, though they are not at all Kukis in terms of language and living style. They are divided into several sub-clans. Some of them are (1) Kaloi, (2) Kor-Bong, (3) Keipeng, (4) Bong, (5) Saka Chep, (6) Thanga chep, (7) Dab, (8) Bongser (9) Rupini, (10) Hrangkhawl, (11) Chorai, (12) Langai, (13) Kaireng, (14) Ranglong, (15) Naveen and (16) Khulang. Their population, as per 2011 Census stands at 57210 and they are spread throughout the state.

Jamatia
Jamatia is one of the largest indigenous tribes of Tripura. They have distinct Mongoloid features. Similar to Tripuris, they speak Kok-borok. They are followers of Shakti and Vaishnav cults.

Khashia
There is a small group of Khasia lives in the Kailashnagar and Dharmanagar of Tripura. Ethnically, they are related to the Khashia group of Meghalaya as they migrated from there way back in 18th century, but over time, they have developed their own customs and rituals. They are famous for their matrilineal society.

Kuki
Kuki is a common word used for a group of tribes. They mostly practice jhum cultivation, hunting and gathering. They are fond of music and dance and practice Shaivism alongwith animism. They are known for their strict customary laws.

Lepcha
Lepcha is another migrant tribe which have made their way to Tripura for economic reasons. In Tripura Lepchas are only 157 lepchas as per 2011 Census and mainly found in Dhalai District of Tripura.

Lushai
Lushai is another tribe that comes under Kuki-chin tribal group. They are mainly concentrated in Kanchanpur of North Tripura district. They are known for their Bamboo dance.

Mog
Mogs are concentrated in Subroom and Belonia. They have migrated to Tripura from Myanmar Arakan region. They follow Buddhism and their language is grouped under Tibeto-Chainese family. They are known for their traditional medicines.

Munda
Munda is a Central Indian tribe, migrated to Tripura from Chhota Nagpur region. They mainly work in tea gardens and brickfields. They follow Hinduism alongwith their tribal dieties.

Noatia
Noatia is another migrant tribe from Arakan region. They entered Tripura through Chittagong Hill Tracts. As of 2011, there population stands at 14298. There are divided among 11 clans, each with their own customs and rituals. These clans are Anokia, Khaklu, Totaram, Murasing,Noatia, Deildak, Keowa, Garjan, Tongbai Kalicha and Aslong.

Orang
Orangs have migrated from Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. They are mainly concentrated in Sadar North and other Tea garden areas. As per 2011 census, their population stands at 12011.

Reang/Riang
They are second largest tribal community in Tripura. They are recognized one of the 75 primitive tribes in India. As of 2011, their population stands at 188220. They belong to Indo-mongolian race and their language belongs to Tibeto-Burman family. They are divided into sub-groups, namely, 1. Meska and 2. Molsoi.

Santhal
Santhals have migrated as Tea garden labourers during the British Raj from Bihar, Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. They are mostly concentrated in the Sadar sub-division of Tripura. They are followers of Shakti-cult. However, some have started practising christianity.

Tripuri
Tripuri is the largest tribal community in the state. As of 2011 census, their population stands at 5,92,255. The state of Tripura was under the rule of Tripuri King till the state merged with the Union of India in 1949. They follow both Shakti and Vaishnava cult. They are known for their local festivals such as  Garia, Kharchi and Ker.

Uchui
Uchui are living in Tripura from the time immemorial. They are said to migrated from the neighbouring Burma, but now considered as the aboriginals of the state. As per 2011 census, their population stands at 2447 and they are mainly concentrated in Amarpur and Belonia Sub-Divisions. They are known for their Tong (bamboo houses). They practise jhum cultivation and hunt wild animals and collect fruits.

Tribal Population of Tripura/Source: TRCI