The rock cut caves and temples near Tarapur suggest that the region was inhabited since 2000 BC. The son of Ved Vyasa, 'Suka' had also made a temple of Shiva near Tarapur near the spring of perennial water. The town was established by the settlement of tribal communities living in the vicinity.
The river Gambhiri runs through this region. It has an average elevation of 210 meters above sea level. The closest city to these villages is Neemuch. It involves a bus journey of 7 to 8 kms to reach a town called Jawad, and then a 3 km travel in a bus or auto to reach Neemuch. Small vans operate twice daily to connect Tarapur or Umedpura to the nearby towns and villages.
The villages fall under a sub tropical climate, and the weather is dry almost throughout the year. The summer months span from April to June with temperatures peaking up to 45 degrees Celsius. The monsoons come from July to September, with very sparse rainfall of around 1500 mm. The winters are during the months of October, November, December and January. The maximum temperature at this time would be 25 degrees Celsius and the minimum is as low as 2 degrees Celsius.
The major crops grown in 'Tarapur' and 'Umedpura' are brinjal, cauliflower, tomato and mustard.
The villages receive water supply throughout the year from the river Gambhiri. The villages have a good drainage system and water storage facilities like the wells and tanks.
The banks of the river rich in alluvial deposits provide fertile soil for farming and workspaces for the textile craftsmen. The villages are equipped with basic needs like schools, banks, a market place, medical facilities, training centres, temples and mosques.
Schools equipped to impart education till the 10th standard is present in these villages. For higher education, they go to the schools in the nearby town of Jawad. Small gullies run throughout the dwellings and market places, while a broader road connect the twin villages.
The village gets electricity only for 12 hours a day.
The houses in the village consist of huts, mud dwellings as well as brick/cement houses - both one storied and two storied. The more affluent people live in the two storied houses. There are small gullies connecting all the dwellings. Some houses have cattle sheds. Dotted with small scale provision stores, eateries that serve indigenous snacks and tea, the main road of the village is quite a hub of activities.
The villages have a very strong work culture and an innate contentment. Almost everyone seems to have a house for themselves and put their earnings into bettering their living condition as well as the village. They follow simple living, which is reflected in their food and clothing too. The textile craftsmen now not only depend on the local market but also national and global, thereby boosting the economy.
The joint family system is prevalent. Children start helping out in the family occupation after the age of 12.
The Hindus in the villages are mostly devotees of the Hinglaj Mata, shrines for whom are found in many places. The areas are flecked with many mosques too, showing communal harmony.
There are two annual fairs organized in the villages. One is in the 'Haryali Amavashya' of the Srawan (June - July) month and the other during Baisakh Purnima (April).
The birth anniversary of Saint Namdev (Kartik Sudi Ekadashi), Basant Panchami and the full moon day of every month are holidays for craftsmen. The festivals celebrated with much pomp and gaiety are: Diwali, Holi, Dashera, Sitalashtami, Eid, Tij and Gangour. During the festivals, all the family members wear new clothes and the women are decked in jewelry.
The people in the villages mostly comprise of the Chippas or the Nilgars - printers and dyers. In earlier times, the occupation of the people consisted only of textile crafts - Nandna prints and Bandhani making. Now they have taken up other occupations such as broom making, stitching, grinding mills, factory work, trading etc. Farming and cattle herding is another prominent source of income for the people of Tarapur and Umedpura.
The attire varies among the Hindu and the Muslim communities. The Hindu women wear sarees, the younger ones now wearing Salwar - Kameez or Kurtas. The Muslim women wear long Kurtas with a Churidar and an Odhani covering their head. Jewelry is common amongst the women, the most observed ones being silver kadha (bangles), 'Bali' (earrings) and 'Jhumar' (anklets). The men of both religions wear Dhoti - Kurta or shirts; the Hindu men are seen with a turban called a 'Saapha'. The Saapha is mostly made of Bandhani printed fabric bought from the local markets.
Nandna prints - Block prints with natural dyes bringing out the traditional dainty motifs are a popular attraction of Tarapur and Umedpura.
Bandhani - The textile craft of tie - dye or Bandhani has been practiced in these villages for many years. They have developed a characteristic style, setting them apart from Bandhanis practiced elsewhere.
Sukhanandhji Ashram - This is a popular Shiva temple near the villages. It is situated around 20 kms away from Neemuch, in an ancient rock cave. It boasts of a perennial water spring. The temple is so named because it was believed to be discovered by Suka, the son of the great sage Veda Vyasa.