The Chenchus people of Nallamala are primitive tribal groups who still dependent on hunting and gathering. These people are mainly found in Guntur, Kurnool, Prakasam and Nalgonda districts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. They are also found in other parts of Karnataka and Odisha.
History of Origin:
The origin of chenchus tribes dated back to the origin of Lord Mallikarjuna of the Srisailam temple. The tribals say there used to be a man and women living in the forest in a small hut. They used to hunt and eat happily but they-they were unhappy for not having any children. One day when they went hunting they faced lord Mallikarjuna and he said he will give them a child with a condition that all the generations of their family have to serve him. After a few months, a girl child was born. One day when the girl was roaming in the jungle she met with Lord Mallikarjuna and fell in love with him. Lord Mallikarjuna married to that girl and from then all the descendants are serving to the lord till this date.
Why did they call Chenchus?
When the girl was three years old, she left the house and living under a tree (in Telugu CHETTU) before she fell in love with the lord. Then she was used to calling my name “Chenchita”. After when she married the lord and gave birth to children, Group of this people were used to call as “Chenchus” and this name was continued till date.
Language and Appearance:
Chenchus talk in Chenchu Language. Their language is also known as Chenchwar, Chenswar, Chenchucoolam and Choncharu. These people are short in height and long head with a flat nose. Their skin colour varies from wheat grey to brown. These people have independence and personal freedom. People in this tribe can marry anyone they like and can divorce whenever they want.
Chenchu people will always move in groups. Chenchus love smoking and make tobacco based cigarettes. They hunt the wide variety of animals like deer, wild boar, rabbit, wild cock, rat, squirrels, peafowl and many kinds of birds & Insects. They use traps, arrows and bows for hunting. Chenchus love to eat honey. They build their huts in shapes of beehives. Chenchus worship different gods to protect them from danger, diseases, enemies etc., They have adopted their religious practices from Hinduism. Chenchu people have the ability to detect water inside the trees.
Chenchus people are still living in the deep forest. They are not much dependent on money. However, they do sell meat, leaf cups and plates, liquor, honey in the local market. They do a small amount of cultivation when seasons are favoured. They generally cultivate Maize and Sorghum but they do not sell. They exchange them within the tribe.
Chenchus move freely with outsides but they are still limited to the forest. They don’t want to come out of the forest. Chenchus are coined as “Childen of Forest”