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Raikas of Rajasthan

  • Raikas lived in the deserts of Rajasthan.


  • There are two groups in Raikas. They are
  • Maru - These people reared camels.
  • Raikas – These people reared sheep and goats.

Rajasthan being the desert region, the rainfall was meagre and uncertain.
Harvests were not certain, so the Raikas combined agriculture with pastoralism.
During the monsoons, the Raikas of Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bikaner stayed in their villages.
By October, when their grazing grounds were dry and exhausted they moved out in search of other pasture and water, and returned again during the next monsoon.

Raikas of Rajasthan
The Raikas migrate in groups or dangs. They have bred the Sirohi goat, a breed that is more productive than imported Swiss goats. In 2004, the Raikas were denied grazing rights into the Kumbhalgrah sanctuary, a region where they had enjoyed ancestral rights.



The nomadic pastoralists had to consider many factors carefully , to sustain themselves.
As the nomads were always on the move , climatic changes , availability of food for themselves and their flock were important factors they had to bear in mind.


Let us look more deeply into these factors that a part of pastoralism.

  • They had to judge how long the herds could stay in one area.
  • They could find water and pasture.
  • They had to calculate the timings of their movements.
  • They had to set up good relationship with the farmers on the way, so that they could let their cattle graze in harvested fields and manure the soil.
  • They had to be good traders to sell their products and get grains.
  • They had to forecast the weather, for them to travel safely.
  • They had to combine a range of different activities – cultivation, trade and herding – to make their living.

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