The Bhils are the second largest tribal community in western and central India. Closely connected to the land, their beliefs are manifest in ceremonies, songs, dances, folklore and painting.
Painting is a form of prayer and healing for the Bhils. Every year, they paint their walls with 'pithoras', as offerings to the goddess. Colourful illustrations from everyday life are painted with neem twig-brushes using natural pigments, on a fresh layer of clay and cowdung. They are filled with bright colours, and a characteristic overlay of uniformly dotted patterns. Of the many stories connected to the use of the dot, they believe that each dot in the painting is representative of an ancestor.
The Bhil celebrate festivals and rites of passage with indigenous Mahua wine. Mahua flowers are brewed by the river, to make an strong aromatic wine. They believe the Mahua flower is divine, as it can be revived with just a few drops of water in the driest of seasons.