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VILLAGE OF MANGANIYARS
Manganiyars are renowned, skilled folk musicians of the Thar Desert, world-famous for their songs and music. The name means ‘those who ask for alms’ and they have survived for centuries solely on the patronage and offerings of wealthy merchants, particularly in and around Jaisalmer. The village of Manganiyars lies in the district of Barmer and Jaisalmer. While the Manganiyars believe they are the descendants of the Rajputs, the community itself is made up of Muslims. This has not deterred them from praying to the Hindu god, Krishna and seeking his blessings before any performance. Many of their others songs, too, venerate other Hindu deities. There was a time when the Manganiyars were the musicians of the royal Rajput courts. They have been known to accompany the kings to war and keep them entertained before and after the battle. The artists of Manganiyars pass down their songs of the desert from one generation to the next. Their songs talk about Alexander the Great, about local Maharajas and the past battles in the region. In a way they are the unofficial curators of Rajasthan’s history, keeping stories alive through their songs and music.