Meeting the Bishnois

On its next trip to India in October 2014, Shining Hope is excited to meet the Bishnoi community. Their community completely falls in the mission to help communities live in harmony with nature and animals. They are already nature worshippers since the 15th century. Founded by Guru Jambheshwar, they are mostly located in Rajasthan. The population is around 700,000 today, and their names means “twenty-niners”.


They follow 29 principles. Here is a short list. To view the full list or have the explanation for a specific principle, click here.


  • To observe segregation of the mother and newborn for 30 days after delivery
  • To keep woman away from all activities for 5 days during her menstrual periods
  • To take early morning bath daily
  • To meditate twice a day
  • Not to steal
  • Not to tell lies
  • To be compassionate towards all living beings
  • Not to fell green trees
  • Not to drink liquor
  • Not to eat meat or non-vegetarian dishes
  • Not to use blue-colored clothes


Shining Hope is planning to visit a local environmental project mostly about recycling. A recent problem in the area is that at each festival, every Bishnoi family has to donate wheat or millet to the wild animals, and also to build dunes surrounding the temples. They used to carry it with a cloth, but now there are carrying it with plastic bags. And since plastic is not forbidden by the 29 principles, they do not throw it away, recycle it or reuse it. Hence, surrounding the sacred temples there are of thousands of plastic bags in the landscape.


This is the main environmental challenge, especially because some of the plastic is impossible to recycle locally. If you are an individual or a company interested or able to recycle plastic, please contact us at and we will pass on your details to the person in charge of this project.


We are very grateful to Franck Vogel, photographer and French ambassador of the Bishnoi, whom we have met recently. Last year, he received the highest honors for promoting the Bishnoi culture from their religious and political leaders at Mukam Festival in front of thousands of pilgrims. You can discover his artistic work on his website.


© Franck Vogel Photography

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