As an adobe to sixty two tribal communities, the population of tribes living in Orissa is much more than other places in India. The tribal population is 24% of the total population of Orissa.
In Orissa, the hilly terrain of the Eastern Ghats homes to most of the tribal population still retains their tradition alive in deep forests and hilly interiors. Orissa embraces 62 diverse tribe ethnicities still adhered and guarding their respective distinct tradition, relatively unchanged throughout centuries.
More than half of the tribal population is concerned in three districts of Koraput, Sundergarh and Mayurbhanj where as Rayagada ,kalahandi, Koraput, Naurangpur and malkangiri districts also register a vast presence of tribal population while some of the other districts of Orissa hold a small number of tribal.
Some of the major Ethnics of Orissa:
As one of the ancient tribes in Orissa Sauras find place in many Hindu myths, classic and folklores. Having their racial affinity with the Proto-Austroloid physical feature, Saura tribe is known for its physical stamina. Sauras are marathon walkers, expert climbers and hunters. Carrying axe is a common habit of the Sauras. Sauras are one of the god cultivators amongst the tribalrace.
Having long heads, flat noses, with expanded alae, depressed nose root, curly hair and dark brown skin as prominent features, the Saura appearance resembles the other Pre-Dravidian tribes.
Saura men wear simple cloths and single bead necklace where as saura women wear a knee length waist cloth and another pieces of cloth covering the upper part of the body. Simple in dressing, Sauras donot use much of bead and metal ornaments and prefer to keep it simple with ornaments made of wooden plungs, or bell metal.
Avoiding easy access, Saura tribe prefers to live in deep hill-forests and mountain folds. Also known as Sabara, Soura, Sora, this tribe is mainly found in paralakhemundi and Gunupur districts in Southern Orissa.
Dwellers of isolated high hills, Bondas are known as a stubborn and stern yet independent minded tribe. Remaining untouched from civilization and other tribes, Bonda tribe prefers to remain reserved in wild terrains, especially in the Jeypore hills as one of the classic savage type of tribes. They are mainly divided into two tribes, Ontal and Kilos, Bondas do swift cultivation. Bondas use an Austro-Asiatic language. Anthropologists also consider Bondas as an Austro-Asiatic tribe group that still practice the barter system. In Bonda tribe, brides are older than the groom.
Paraja tribes are found mainly in Ganjam, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Sundergarh, Dhenkana, Phulband, Mayurbhanj and Koraput district. This tribe is further devided into twelve sub-tribes, each called after the region it lives in. Paraja are divided in to Jhadia, Barenga, Penga and Konda. Each of the sub-tribe differs from the other in language, custom and tradition. The parajas cultivate on hills. For long this tribe was prone to exploitation.
Oraons, Koya, Didayees, Matia, Dharua, Bathudi, Kolha, Godava are other prominent tribes found in majority in the state.