The craft of making ‘Teer-Kamthi’ or Bow & Arrow has been practiced by the Bhils and Bhilalas for many years. These are crafted out of bamboo, cane and sharp metal. When it was used for hunting, the tip of the arrow was dipped in poison and shot out. An experienced person is said to be able to shoot the arrow effectively across a kilometer.

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The bow and arrows were earlier used by the tribal for hunting down animals. These small weapons are used to shoot down smaller animals and birds for food. These are also used for self-defense. Toy versions are also made for recreational purpose and for teaching the kids.

It is also effectively used in cattle herding. When the arrows are shot right in front of the cattle’s path, they turn away from that and take the other direction.


The arrowheads are made by the Lohars or blacksmiths in the tribal community and the tribals put together the bow and arrow contraption on their own. These are also sold in the weekly markets in the villages.

The men have since ages adorned ‘Teer-Kamthi’, the bow and arrow, which has been their symbol of chivalry and self defense. The people are experts in handling bows and arrows. In fact, the name ‘Bhil’ was derived from the word ‘Billee’, which means bow. For years, the bow has been a characteristic weapon of the tribe and the men usually carry their bows and arrows with them. Jhabua is a hilly area and a popular saying goes that an expert Bhil can target an arrow up to 1 km from one hill to the other.

In the proud history of Mewar, the Bhil tribesmen have played an important part. It was a Bhil who brought up Bappa Rawal, a forefather of the Maharanas of Udaipur. For centuries Bhil armies fought with their Rajput rulers, against a succession of invaders. Thus it is that the Bhils though themselves illiterate and lacking even a tradition of popular ballad-history, such as the minstrel charans and bhats provide for their near neighbours, are yet commemorated in the writings and verse of the Rajputs; and their long association is symbolized in the Mewar royal crest, which shows a sun in splendor, with on one side a Rajput, on the other a Bhil warrior.

Myths & Legends:

The Pandava prince Arjuna was Drona’s favorite student. Ekalavya, a Bhil also wanted to be Drona’s pupil but Drona refused to teach him. Ekalavya was a determined student. He carved a statue of Drona on a tree trunk in the forest and started practicing in front of it. Time went by and one day the princes and their teacher came to the same forest. As Arjuna aimed at a particularly difficult target, an arrow pierced the target. Shocked, the boys and their teacher looked around. They saw Ekalavya, who went up to touch Drona’s feet. “Who is your teacher?- Drona asked. Ekalavya quietly led him to the statue. Drona did not want anyone to be better than Arjun. He thought for some time and said, “If I am your guru, give me my Gurudakshina, I want your right thumb.- Ekalavya bowed and wordlessly cut off his right thumb and laid it at Drona’s feet. For an archer asking to give his thumb is equivalent for asking him to give his life.

But Ekalavya was happy for his dream of being accepted as Dronacharya’s disciple was fulfilled. Despite of being a deceitful incident, because of Ekalavya’s sacrifice it became a legend.


Archery is one of the oldest sport and technique in India. Owing to its requirement of simple and easily available raw materials, the bow and arrow have been a part of both hunting and sport for ages. It is considered to be a Mesolithic skill, which was developed first for hunting and self-defense needs and later evolved to be a prestigious skill. There are many references to the bow and arrow in the Indian Mythology. At Bhimbetka, the paintings are predominantly based on animal life that existed during that period and also these paintings provide an insight to society and rituals followed during that period. The paintings of later periods indicate use of various weapons like swords, knife, arrows, spears, shields and bows. Some paintings indicating processions on horses and elephants specify presence of a developed society.

The Vedic era is full of examples with games and honing of archery. The form and material has evolved over years, and there are toy versions too.

In the tribal populations of India, the bamboo and cane ‘Teer-Kamaan’ is still used for small hunting and celebrations. Even little children put together a makeshift bow and arrow with trees branches and twigs and play, trying to hit targets drawn at small distances.


The bow is made with bamboo and the arrows are crafted out of cane. The arrowhead is made out of sharpened metal at one end. The other has feathers of eagle tied strongly with a string. The eagle feather is used since it is large and the tribals believe in the eagle’s ability to glide long distances, with the air in their feathers. The streamlined shape of the arrowhead is such that once inserted it gets locked inside. The bow is wound around with silver or gold ribbons. The arrows are painted red and black or other bright colors.


Introduction Process:

Bamboo and cane are locally sourced, split and shaped into thin but potent bows and arrows. Hot lac is used as an adhesive and nylon threads are tightly wound around to hold the different parts together. Locally known as Hariya Kamthi, it is decorated with silver ribbon and paints.

From the days when humanity was setting its foothold on different regions, one of the first tools and weapons he invented for personal assistance and safety was ‘Bow & Arrow’. The technique of making this primitive set of weapon has evolved into a very efficient form and design, so much that a Bhil warrior can aim the target from one mountain to another. The artisans have honed the art of choosing best material that would mature into a well-made set of bow & arrow.

Raw Materials:

Bamboo: It is easily acquired from the surrounding forests in the region.
Cane: The artisans buy cane from weekly haats.
Eagle feathers: These are attached to rear part of the arrow to impart aerodynamic form.
Melted lac from Babul tree: Used to fit feathers and arrowheads on arrow.
Metal (Iron): The main part of arrow which pierces on the target.
Coal: Used for heat generation while hot working.


No waste

Tools & Tech:

Daratha: A locally made sickle used to cut bamboo in forests.
Bogda: It is a long knife used to slit cane and bamboo.
Hathodi: Locally made hammer used to make metallic arrowheads.
Aari: Locally made saw to cut bamboo.
Air blower: Used to increase flame while hot forging.
Abrasive wheel: It can be manually powered or motorized, used to sharpen the cutting tools.
Metallic or wooden plank: Used as a base while working on bow and arrow.



Bamboo and cane are locally sourced, split and shaped into thin but potent bows and arrows. Hot lac is used as an adhesive and nylon threads are tightly wound around to hold the different parts together. Locally known as Hariya Kamthi, it is decorated with silver ribbon and paints.

From the days when humanity was setting its foothold on different regions, one of the first tools and weapons he invented for personal assistance and safety was ‘Bow & Arrow’. The technique of making this primitive set of weapon has evolved into a very efficient form and design, so much that a Bhil warrior can aim the target from one mountain to another. The artisans have honed the art of choosing best material that would mature into a well-made set of bow & arrow.
In the whole process of making a bow and arrow, two types of craftsmen are involved. There are Lohars, who make arrow heads through hot forging and sharpen them on abrasive wheels. Then these arrowheads are bought by bow and arrow makers.
The process of making bow and arrow can be divided in two parts:

The bow is crafted from Bamboo. 4 to 4.5 inches of solid bamboo, it is first split into half and then sanded properly. It is then heated and two slits are made on either side, to which the Pincha or the flat thin piece of Bamboo is tied, which acts as the pull. Generally, two are tied. If one breaks, the other can be used.

The arrow is made using cane. The metal head piece is sharpened on stone and shaped. It is then inserted into a notch made at the top of the cane. The hot metal is inserted and hot lac is used as an adhesive. Nylon strings are wound around this joint for strengthening. The eagle’s feather is split into two and stuck on either side of the base. A string is then wound around the feather and the base.
When the arrow flies straight, the narrow part of the fletching on the back is in line with the flight path and provides very little resistance. It’s like a feather being dragged through the air by its point. Flip the arrow so its broad side is moving through the air and the resistance increases considerably, to the point where it takes effort to drag it through the air. When the point of an arrow wobbles, the fletching on the end is turned so that it gets a considerable push of resistance. That push is directly opposite to the way the arrow turned, and so it puts the arrow back in line with its flight path.

Cluster Name: Jobat-Alirajpur


district Jobat-Alirajpur
state Madhya Pradesh
population 11,976 (2011)
langs Hindi, English
best-time July - April
stay-at local hotels
reach Bus, Train, Aeroplane
local Auto, walkable distance
food Dal Bafla, Rogan Josh, Chakki Ki Shaak


The state was founded in the 15th century, by descendents of the Ali-Rajpur family. The region has been inhabited by aboriginal tribes since centuries. The Bhil and Bhilala tribes constitute major part of the population of this region.


Jobat is a block (tehsil ) is located 29 KM towards East from District headquartersAlirajpur in Western Madhya Pradesh, very near to border of the state of Gujarat. Jobat is located on the banks of Dohiriver and has an average elevation of 292 metres. Jobat summer highest day temperature is in between 32 ° C to 43° C and Average temperatures of January is 23° C. The region has babool, mahua, khajur, tar, imli trees.   Jobat is surrounded by Udaigarh Tehsil towards North, Bagh Tehsil towards East, Alirajpur Tehsil towards west, Ranapur Tehsil towards North. It is well connected with Jhabua, Alirajpur, Kukshi by road and you can get daily transportation mediums to reach Dhar, Indore, Ujjain, Bhopal, Dahod, Baroda and many other cities. By Road: State transport buses are available from Alirajpur- 28 KM, Jhabua- 43 KM, Dohad- 62 KM. its batter to travel by personal taxi in a day time. By Rail: There is no railway station near to Kasba Jobat, Dahod Is a nearest railway station - 64 KM 4. By Plane: Nearest airport in Indore Airport- 147 KM from jobat.



The city has grown over past few years and now it has a many schools and a government Post Graduate college. A health care center has been opened for medical needs.A colonial church known by the name of ‘Schion church’ accommodates large hospital. Jobat has post office, a government bus stand, major banks, ATM, restaurants and few hotels.


Jobat has many colonial period buildings, yet majority of construction seen in current city is new. Flat concrete houses are very common in Jobat. In the main are of the town majority of buildings have shops in the ground floor of the buildings. Plenty of shops are run in a temporary structure with a cloth shade in the front.


The region is mostly inhabited by tribal population. Bhil people work six days a week and splurge their earnings in the local weekly Haat. They believe in living in present, without storing much wealth and resources for future. There is no gender discrimination in Bhil community; the women enjoy the same stature in society as men. Both sexes are permitted to consume ‘mahua’(a natureal intoxicating drink prepared locally with mahua flowers) openly and it is a major part of any ritualistic ceremony. Widow remarriage is permitted in the community and the remarriage takes place during amawas or at the last day of the dark fortnight of the month or on a Sunday. Polygamy is also permitted; men generally take second wife to conceive an heir.   "Bhagoriya" Festival: - This is the festival of joy and fun for tribal. Well, it has many reasons to celebrate nevertheless the season and economic aspect is important. To celebrate Bhagoriya festival people come back to their home and village from any corner of the country. "Bhagoriya" festival start before one week of Holi and end to Holi every year. TheBhagoriya festival of Balpur, Sondwa,Chhaltala and Nanpur are very famous and sightly. Bhagoriya is a special cultural public festival of Alirajpur district. Tourist come from Delhi, Bhopal, Indore and public representative, officers, reporters   and foreigners in heavy crowd participate in this festival. However till now it not considered as a tourist place. But the district's efforts to bring this feature to canvas are required. In Bhagoriya festival tribal youth, children, females are all together. On their traditional drums and "Nagada" called "Mandal" each group seems to be dancing with fun.  Especially females dressed with the new clothes and make-up. A characteristic is that in "Bhagoriya" fair females of villages dress same garment. And dance sing terrifically on drum. It is to maintain a specific identity. Each tribal definitely bear colourful dress on this occasion. In this festival people dance and eat Chilli and Onion "Pakode" and have Ice-cream and cold drinks. One thing is also famous in "Bhagoriya" festival that in this festival male select their life partner by colouring face of life partner and propose to her and after acceptance of female marriage process start. "Bhagoria" fair is not only important for the tribal youth bus also for regional business and financial aspect. The ceremonies carried out during marriage are quite different from typical Hindu marriage. During marriage ceremony the bridegroom marks his arrival at the bride’s place by striking a Dagger at a specified place. Usually a goat is sacrificed and the groom steps on the blood as he enters the shed. The timing of marriage is decided by the priest. If the wedding takes place on the eleventh day of the Karthik, i.e. at the end of the rainy season, a hut of eleven stalks of Juari is made and the couple walks around the hut, as the marriages are forbidden during this season. No Brahmin is need in such weddings. After the wedding, the father of the groom wears feminine attire and dances before the whole family. Rose water and powder is sprinkled over the guests, such proceedings are known as ‘Phag’, as these ceremonies are equally significant compared to Holi festival observed in Phagun. During going away ceremony, the couple sits on two wooden boards and then change places.


The town has a population of 16000. People from variety of ethnic groups and religions live in Jobat. Majority of population is bhill. The term Bhil is probably derived from “Bil”, a Dravidian term used for a bow. There is a saying in Sanskrit- BhidantiItiBhillah”, which means a Bhil is the one who pierces. The Bhils are good marksmen and like to keep bow and arrow and Gofan with them. The young Bhils even kill the fish in small rivers or ponds with bow and arrow. Bhilala, Patalia, Barela and Rathya are principle sub-branches of Bhil tribe. Bhil is such an ancient tribe which finds mention in mythological legends and therein they are referred to as Nishad. The Bhils consider Valmiki and Eklavya as their ancestors. Rajsthani, Malvi and Gujrati terms are found in Bhili dialect and its legend oral tradition is very rich. Bhils are small, dark, broad-nosed, well-built and energetic people. Major Hendley once documented the body features of Bhil people; he measured the height of 128 men, the average of which was 5 feet and 6.4 inches. As quoted “The Bhīl is an excellent woodsman, can walk the roughest paths and climb the steepest crags without slipping or feeling distressed. He is often called in old Sanskrit works Venaputra, ‘child of the forest,’ or PālIndra, ‘lord of the pass.”   Bhils obtain their livelihood from agricultural activities, they are agro pastoral people. They also migrate within the region as agricultural and construction labourers.

Famous For:

Jobat has a fort at 4km distance from the main town. There is also a palace and a scion church which one could visit. A Haat bazaar is held weekly in which people from nearby village come to shop for basic commodities.


List of craftsmen.

Documentation by:

Team Gaatha

Process Reference:

Cluster Reference:

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