Sauria Paharia people

The Sauria Paharia people (also known as Maler Paharia) are a tribal people of Bangladesh[3] and the Indian states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Bihar.[4][5] They are found mostly in Santhal Parganas region in the Rajmahal Hills.

Sauria Paharia
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi distributing the Certificate of Appointment to constables of Paharia Special India Reserve Batallion, at a function, at Sahibganj, Jharkhand.jpg
Total population
51,634[1] (2011 census)
Regions with significant populations
 Bangladesh  India
West Bengal3,480
Malto • Regional languages Sylheti language
Hinduism[2] and Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Oraon • Kumarbhag Paharia • Mal Paharia


According to Kurukh traditions, when they were driven out of their home in the Son valley, the main group migrated towards Palamu but a smaller group moved down the Gangetic valley till they reached Rajmahal Hills, where they settled mostly in Damin-i-koh. The language of the Sauria Paharias is closely linked to that of the Oraons.[6]


Sauria Paharias are listed as a primitive tribe and have a population of around 45,000 in Jharkhand, with a possible negligible population in West Bengal. They constitute less than 1 per cent of the tribal population in Jharkhand.[7][8][9]


The Sauria Paharias mainly worship their ancestral spirits, known as Jiwe Urkkya ("the spirit that has left"), especially before sowing a new field. The Jiwe Urkkya is at first a fierce spirit, until a feast is given on the 5th day after the funeral, after which he becomes benevolent. Afterwards, the death anniversary, known as Bhoje, is celebrated by karra pujar, animal sacrifices. For the Karra pujar, the buffalo is most preferred. The feasts and offerings to ancestors are given by the demano, the village priest, who is believed to speak with the voices of the Jiwe Urkkya. Offerings are typically made during harvest season or during the Bandana festival. Ancestral worship is important for Saurias because they believe that, once he is satiated with offerings, he joins Bero Gosaiyya, the sun god.

The Saurias also worship a group of spirits called Gosain. These are associated with every phenomenon in the world around them. The Saurias make a distinction between male and female Gosain, but each village has different conceptions of which Gosain are male and which are female. The names of the Gosain are generally local to their area, and vary depending on the village. The home deity is represented by a door and is worshipped during the construction of a new house. The Gomo (pillar of the house) Gosain provides health and well-being, and the Sohar Gosain lives in the cattle shed and protects the cattle from harm. The Saurias also believe in evil spirits, called Alchi or Bhoote, as well as witchcraft (Chargani).

The most important place for veneration of the Gosain is the Manjhi Than, where the most significant Gosain is worshipped. This Gosain is male and is represented by five black stones under a small tree. The Manjhiya makes two sacrifices a year: one during the Bandana festival and just before sowing in a Kurwa field. Female Gosains are worshipped at the Gosain Adda and Bender Nadu, at which are sacrificed black fowl and pigs respectively. The Chal Nadu, on the nearest hilltop, is the place at which sacrifices are conducted if a calamity befalls the village.[10]


Sauria Paharias practice shifting cultivation, called jhum. They lead family lives.[11]

The Saurias are divided into three distinct cultural groups, namely the Probia, the Bare and the Chete.[12]


  1. ^ "State and district-wise Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe population for each caste and tribe separately". GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Census of India Website : Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India". Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  3. ^ Project, Joshua. "Sauria Paharia in Bangladesh". Retrieved 2021-07-10.
  4. ^ "Scheduled Tribe List Of West Bengal State". Archived from the original on 2015-03-08.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Houlton, Sir John, Bihar, the Heart of India, p. 81, Orient Longmans, 1949
  7. ^ "Growth and Distribution of Tribal Population in Jharkhand -1961-2001: A Census Analysis By Shubhangi Thatte". Retrieved 2010-05-01.
  8. ^ "Tribal population profile in Jharkhand state". Archived from the original on March 14, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
  9. ^ "Primitive Tribal Groups and their Population in India as per 2001 Census" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-05-01.
  10. ^ Tribhuwan, Robin D. (2003). Fairs and Festivals of Indian Tribes. Discovery Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-7141-640-0.
  11. ^ "Sautia Paharia Adivasi". Jharkhand Org. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  12. ^ S. N. Ratha; Georg Pfeffer; Deepak Kumar Behera (1997). Contemporary Society: Identity, intervention and ideology in tribal India. p. 404. ISBN 9788180695346. Retrieved 2010-08-25.