The Bishnoi of Jodhpur: They Speak for the Trees

The Bishnoi of Jodhpur: They Speak for the Trees

Ramu, our Bishnoi host pours his tea in his saucer to cool it to drink.

They call them “Eco Warriors”. They are the Bishnoi people of Jodhpur.  The story goes that the Bishnoi live under the twenty-nine precepts established by their prophet, Lord Jhambheshwar. These include no killing or eating of animals, no cutting down of living trees and no alcohol consumption. Though they apparently are not opposed to a bit of opium every once in a while. But that is another story. So, in 1730 when a Bishnoi woman, Amrita Devi protested at trees being cut by the Maharaja – she gave her life up to save the trees and another 363 villagers followed soon after. India’s own Lorax as it were. Now they farm millet and occasionally entertain tourist with a traditional opium ceremony. We missed that one. Apparently they are still fervent protectors of the trees and will still do most anything to protect them and the area’s wild life.

Ramu and his tea.


The proud Bishnoi, Ramu.


The Bishnoi decorate their homes with traditional painting.


Ramu’s daughter Champa.


The amazing eyes of Champa.


Champa’s daughter shows of her Mendhi (henna).

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About The Author

Matt Brandon

Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer. In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.


  1. Jon McCormack

    Matt – you are killing me with these! Just lovely!

    • Matt

      Thanks Jon. Appreciate the kind words.

  2. T-roy

    I love that you went to this same families house as I did! This wasn’t the first family I visited but when I my guide took me to one and wanted to leave, I said “No way, this place is awesome, I want to meet more people!” So he thought for a moment and said he knew one other house we could visit and this was it. The old man was really funny and cool and his daughter Champa loved posing for the camera. In fact the old man took a funny photo of me with his turban on that is still my Facebook fanpage profile photo.

    LOVED seeing this today Matt, brought back great memories for me!

  3. Ajay Goel

    Great Pictures Matt and you picked upon a great living tradition in that part of India. As a result of these traditions, the black bucks roam freely around these villages….and many a times, the ignorant hunters have found themselves begging for their lives at the hands of enraged Bishnois.


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