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  • Kattunayakan are a designated Scheduled Tribe in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The word Kattunayakan means the king of the jungle in Tamil. The Kattunayakan are one of the earliest known inhabitants of the Western Ghats, who are engaged in the collection and gathering of forest produce, mainly wild honey and wax. The members of this community are short, have black skin, and have protruding foreheads. The men wear short dhotis and half sleeved shirts. The women attach a long single piece of cloth round their body just below the neck, leaving the shoulders and arms bare. Child marriages were common before the 1990s, but now the girls marry after attaining puberty. Monogamy is the general rule among the Kattunayakan community. Kattunayakan believe in Hinduism and have a language, which is a mixture of all Dravidian languages. The main deity of the tribe is Lord Shiva under the name of Bhairava. They also worship animals, birds, trees, rock hillocks, and snakes, along with the other Hindu deities. Kattunayakan are non-vegetarians and are fond of music, songs, and dancing. They are also called Cholanaickan and Pathinaickans.

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