About Koya People Group

The people call themselves as Koithoru, but outsiders call them Koyas. Their language is Koithor maaTa/GoTe, and outsiders refer to it as Koya

The current population is bout 2 lakhs (200,000) Koyas in Malkangiri.

There are two major dialects: Dorla Koya spoken people are in Motu area.
Gotthe Koya spoken people are in Balimela, Korkonda, Podia, Malkangiri, Mathli,Kalimela.

The toddy- TODDYKAL is collected 3 times a day, before sun rise, at noon and in the evening from Palm tree. IDDU/IKKIl liquor is brewed by them from IDDU flowers. In the months of February, March and April, IDDU/IKKI flower is available abundantly. They collect the flowers and dry them for four or five days. The dried flowers are then fermented in a pot for 6 days. It is, now distilled and consumed. They relish it more than any other liquor as it is more intoxicating.

One cannot marry from the same clan. Cross-cousin marriages are prefered and sometimes adhered to provided girls and boys of the marriageable age are available.
If the bride’s parents agree, they all sit together for a feast, the expenses of which are borne by the boy’s father. He also presents some new clothes to his prospective daughter-in-law. After the feast, they negotiate the amount of bride price to be paid, usually in the form of goats or pigs. After having reached an agreement regarding the bride price, they may also tentatively fix up a particular month when the wedding should take place. Generally, March, April and May are preferred, when they are a little free after the harvest.

Once the marriage is settled, the parties exchange frequent visits. The auspicious day for the marriage is fixed in consultation with the Voddes of both the villages.


KOYAS believe in the concept of rebirth. If a child is born in the deceased person’s family having the same mark or cut on its body, which the dead person had on himself at the time of his death, it is believed that the dead person is reborn in the family. They also believe that if a person dies due to pain or black magic, he may likely to become an evil spirit.

In case of a person who dies of some disease, the corpse is buried. Soon after the news of death, beating of drums at regular intervals symbolizing the death toll is continued till the corpse is now placed on a bamboo bier, prepared for the purpose, and covered with a new piece of cloth. The bier is then carried to the burial ground by the members of the family, assisted by other relatives.