Maher community belongs to the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, and have played a major role in the 1600 years history of the region. Traditionally a warrior community that turned settled agriculturists, Maher in the past danced to celebrate holi, to celebrate victory over cattle raiders or opponents in war. Male members of the community can be distinguished by large mustaches and white turbans. Wood sticks and axe are their main weapons and they are well trained in swordsmanship.
The community has designed a special routine which is known to the entire world as 'Maniyara Raas'. Warrior-like movements and a display of masculine prowess is therefore, a distinctive feature of Maher raas—a smooth yet rare synchronisation of graceful movements in ‘vilambit tal’ with fast movements in ‘chalati’ that builds up a climax. Continuing the legacy and to take this traditional art form ahead, people of Maher community living in Bokhira town of Porbandar region in Gujarat state have formed a group and have named it 'Chamunda Maher Raas Mandal Bhokhira'. The group has performed with traditional instruments such as dhols (drums) and shehnai (clarinet) in various prestigious venues.
Image Courtesy - Shri Chamunda Maher Raas Mandal Bokhira