Sri Lankan Gypsy people

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Sri Lankan Gypsy people
Snake charmer(js).jpg
Sri Lankan Gypsy Snake Charmer
Regions with significant populations
 Sri Lanka
Telugu , Sinhala, Tamil
Animism, Buddhism, Hindu, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils

Sri Lankan Gypsy people are an ethnic group from Sri Lanka who trace their origins in India (Telugu areas of present Telugu land) centuries ago. They are the only nomadic group of people living in Ceylon and are known as the Ahikuntakas otherwise called Kuravans. They live in small palmyra huts for two or three days in one place. They mostly speak Telugu, also known as Sri Lankan Gypsy Telugu, a Dravidian language natively spoken in India. Various governments, NGOs and missionary societies have made attempts to settle them down, and thus some are settled in villages. Amongst the majority Sinhalese speakers they are known as ahikuntaka, while amongst the minority Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims they are known as Kuravar. Some make their living by fortune telling, snake charming and using monkeys and dogs in performances. Those who are settled in resettlement villages are subsistence farmers and farm hands to other farmers. They also speak Sinhalese or Tamil based on their area of settlement. Most seem to be settled in the eastern Batticaloa district. Most follow rudimentary elements of Hinduism, while some are Christians and yet others adhere to Buddhism.[1][2][3][4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Uplifting the ahikuntaka gypsy community". Dilmah Conservation. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. ^ "By the light of the gypsy fire". 13 February 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  3. ^ Subasinghe, Wasantha. "Gypsy Culture and Society in the Changing World: A Sociological Analysis". University of Kelaniya. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  4. ^ McGilvray, Dennis (2008). Crucible of Conflict: Tamil and Muslim Society on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-4161-1.
  5. ^ Wijesekera, Nandadeva (1965). The people of Ceylon. M.D. Gunasena. p. 53.

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