The Typical Village

The typical village home has a compound marked by mud walls or nettle branches, and is entered through a gateway that leads to the open courtyard where men meet, and cattle may be tethered.

Village communities provide the basis for all social life. Villages are small communities that can be called a peasant society. In a defined geographical area, from a few dozen to hundreds of families live in residential clusters surrounded by agricultural and pasture land. Such settlements take their names from those of important deities, or of a founder or his ancestor, or even on the basis of the area's geographical or social characteristics.

Rajasthan has over 35,000 villages with varying populations of between 100 and 5,000 people, with 1,000-2,000 persons being the average. Villages can be spotted from highways to which they are usually connected by narrow roads. From the distance, old, large trees can be seen. Villages are often located near village ponds or talabs that provide the source of water for cattle, for their residents' bathing, and sometimes for irrigation.

Such villages are usually pastoral communities, and the presence of a village is heralded by the presence, on its outskirts, of cows, buffaloes, sheep, goats, camels, and other domestic animals.