Tattoo makers of a remote Adivasi community in Adilabad are going to get a tech leg-up — all thanks to a team from Indian Institute of Technology (Hyderabad). The Thotis, a community associated with Raj Gonds, one of the oldest Adivasi communities in the country, are getting a helping hand from the institute to preserve their art of tattooing.

The tattoo work of Thotis stands out with unique patterns and craft and faces extinction, as the number of people who know this beautiful art that requires immense skills, is dwindling. According to the 2021 Census, the population of Thotis is 4,811 showing how endangered the community and their art are.


“The traditional occupation of the Thotis was singing ‘Gond Gatha’, keeping the history of the Gondwana kingdom alive in the form of oral history,” Deepak John Mathew of the Department of Design at IIT-H, has said.

With a view to protecting the rich cultural legacy of Thotis the Department of Design at the IIT-Hyderabad has decided to documenting and safeguarding their living traditions, using digital tools.

For centuries, Thotis sustained the art, passing on the tradition to successive generations, and earning livelihood. The community women are experts in the unique tattoo art.

“The Thoti women make the conventional tattoo among the Gond women as a part of healing and remedies. Unfortunately, these art forms are fading away,” he said.

A team from the department had visited Thoti Guda at Tosham village in Gudihatnur mandal of Adilabad district. It recorded their traditional music using advanced technologies to preserve the cultural heritage of the community for posterity.