A Rajasthani Gypsy woman shows the henna markings on her hand, whilst her younger companion holds a mirror reflecting her own profile, at the Pushkar Camel Fair, in Rajasthan, India.
Linguistic and genetic evidence suggests that the ancestors of Roma people, also known as Romani people, or as Gypsies, were a Hindi population indigenous to north-west India.
Though the cause of their diaspora remains unknown, the Roma are believed to have migrated from the area comprised by modern-day Rajasthan around 1000 to 1500 years ago, mostly to Europe, where they now number around 11 million, forming the largest minority group on the continent.
In Rajasthan, the Gypsy tribe is subdivided into the Bopa tribe and the Kalbelia tribe, amongst others, with the former traditionally consisting largely of musicians and singers, and the latter of dancers and snake charmers.
Once employed by kings and maharajas as entertainers for their courts, these nomadic tribes now perform at cultural shows and festivals throughout Rajasthan, including the Pushkar Camel Fair, where they are present in considerable numbers.