Regional Folktales of India

India has several regions that are diverse in many ways. Language, food, clothing, folklore, dances, communities, philosophy, celebrations, customs and landscape of each region is different from the other. Folktales were a way of preserving these and passing on to the next generation. So, every region of India has folktales. In this article, you can explore some of the regional folktales from the states of India.

Regional folktales from the states of India

Let’s read further and find regional folktales of India for people above 8 years old.

Folk refers to a specific group of people, whether they are a tribe or not, and lore is the group’s knowledge or wisdom about a certain topic.

Every region of India has their uniqueness in culture, traditions and geographic topography. Yet, there is a common Indianness among all the regions based on humility, hospitality, a spiritual way of thinking and brotherhood. 

Folktales were a medium for introducing the local culture, rituals, religious beliefs, values and morals at a very young age. This means, in an entertaining and amusing manner, the elders would pass on their values and wisdom to the next generation through folktales.

These folktales have spread word of mouth over many many centuries. Some temple carvings, cave sculptures and palm leaf scrolls depict popular folktales like Panchatantra and Jataka. 

Mediums for conveying folktales are

  • dances,
  • songs,
  • sculptures,
  • paintings,
  • scrolls and books,
  • carvings,
  • folk theatre, and
  • lullabies

Sometimes, nobody can tell exactly who is the original author of little-known regional folktales.

Folktales of Bihar

Greatest Folk Tales of Bihar: for kids

The author is Nalin Verma, publisher Rupa Publication in year 2019. This chapter book with timeless folktales has 219 pages. The folktales are from the rustic village life of Bihar with the wisdom of the village folk. 

Also read: Jataka Tales in English

The Bhojpuri and Maithili culture has a rich history, which the stories reflect. Kids above 8 years and people of all age groups will enjoy reading this book, especially kids in the cities who miss out on these rural folktales. The author has specially brought out the stories from the hinterland for the readers.

Folktales of Bengal

Bengal: Tales from Bengal 

The author of this book is Ray Choudhury Upendrakishor, translated by Ganguli Paushali and illustrations by Gautam Benegal. Published by Om Books International in 2015, the book has 96 pages. 

The watercolour illustrations are colourful and attractive. The popular folktales of Bengal, Tuntuni’s Boi, are translated and retold in English while making a special effort to present the rustic flavor.

Also read: Hitopadesha Stories Ancient Indian Folktales

The stories will re-connect Bengali families and the urban younger generation with the much-loved stories of the proud bird, Tuntuni. 

The renowned filmmaker Satyajit Ray made a classic children’s film named “Gupi Gyne Bagha Byne” based on one story from “Tuntunir Boi”. Apart from Tuntuni, this book presents other folktales from Bengal too.

Himalayan Folktales

The Curious Tales from the Himalayas

The authors of this 208-page book are Shaguna Gahilote and Prathana Gahilote, publisher Penguin Random House in 2017.

Dalai Lama has written a foreword for the book and many other personalities including Vishal Bharadwaj have recommended reading the book. The centuries-old stories from the Himalayas will please those who love the mountains.

So you will find unique delightful stories here that you won’t find in other folktale books. The folktales reflect culture, beliefs and hardworking lives of the mountain people.

Where Gods Dwell: Folktales Of India

This book by Kusum Budhwar is on central Himalayan folktales and legends. Published by Penguin India in 2010, this 296-page book has vibrant stories depicting the Garhwal and Kumaon mountain ethos. 

The book can be a leisurely contemplative read not just for teenagers but also for anybody who is fascinated by the Himalayan mountains.

Do you know any folktales for kids that will give you an insight into the Himalayan mountain life, sacred places, and the local gods? You can read aloud stories to kids from this book. 

Also read: Best Ruskin Bond Books for Kids.

The author has travelled widely in these mountains, warmly conversed with the locals, and has researched extensively before presenting the folktales in this book. Historical anecdotes and adventures, local heroes and medieval warriors have a place in the stories.

Rajasthan and Gujarat

Curious Tales from the Desert

Meant for people above 9 years, this 224-page book was published by Puffin books in 2022. Did you know that there is a magical bird living deep in the forests of Rajasthan? It has the power to grant wishes!

In Gujarat, a friendly pandit loves to negotiate with shopkeepers and kindly advises enthusiastic shoppers in their quest for a great bargain.

Also read: Vikram Vetal Story and Books

A friendly bullocky, in Multan, encounters a wise elderly gentleman who kindly asks for compensation for his valuable advice.

An absolute blast to witness the chaos unfold as people of all kinds, from the silly to the brilliant, have a grand time exploring the beautiful Indian deserts. 

It’s truly a delightful and amusing experience! Hey there! Why not take a moment to unwind with a delicious bowl of Rajasthani delicacy named Kheench? 

You’ll absolutely love the enchanting vibes of the Thar desert, the vibrant nightlife in sandy Cholistan, and the bustling bazaars of Kutch.

Akbar Birbal from Uttar Pradesh, Tenali Raman from Andhra Pradesh and more folktales

Tales Of Wit And Wisdom

The 140-page chapter book published by Harper Collin’s Children’s Books in 2021, written and adapted by Christopher Baretto from ACK Comics. Illustrations are by Shreya Sen and font is attractive. The illustrations are black and white and the expressions are funny. Observing the illustrations will inspire the readers to draw caricatures.

The easy to read language will bring joy to readers above 8 years old. This is a paperback edition of Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) folktale series.

The young readers can retell stories and perform skits based on the stories. The book is good for developing the vocabulary of independent readers. There are various stories in the book, like Akbar Birbal, Tenali Raman, and many others.

South India: regional folktales of India

Folktales of South India

A collection of traditional South Indian folk stories passed down verbally from generation to generation. 

This book has stories in English even though the original stories were in all four main South Indian languages.

This book, put together by Luis, is an assortment of tales that are full of human feelings. 

Since the stories come from several regions of South India, youngsters will also learn about the history, way of life, and customs of these different areas. 

Many of the finest and most famous children’s stories, like “The Man in the Bush,” “The Heavenly Elephant,” and “How the Dwarf Outsmarted the Giant,” are also in the collection.

North East India: regional folktales of India

Folktales from India’s North East

These folktales contain myths and traditions about the gods, goddesses, monarchs, commoners, ghosts, mysterious people of the mountains, talking tigers, speaking rivers, and several other objects of nature integral to human life.

These stories convey shades of …

  • Love and jealousy,
  • Hatred and forgiveness,
  • Miracles and wisdom,
  • Human-nature interaction

These illustrate various aspects of the region, such as its history, philosophy, morals, and daily life.

Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Bengal Folktales: regional folktales of India

Tales of India from Tamilnadu, Punjab and Bengal

Every story in this book is alive with the assistance of stunning artwork by two talented modern Indian artists. Talented Indian and English folklorists documented these stories during the 1800s. 

It is a collection of sixteen folktales with wit, magic, heroism, inspiration and humour. This e-book published in 2018 by Chronicle Books LLC, has 128 pages.

Famous folktales of India

Animal Tales: Jataka Tales, Buddha Tales, Hitopadesha Tales, Wisdom Tales Paperback

This set of 4 books published by Maple Press has colourful illustrations for reading levels 6 to 13 years. There are 69 interesting moral stories in this set. 

The medley of stories is from traditional folktales of India from various parts of the country. Children love reading these stories as they are amusing and full of traditional Indian moral values. The story is about finding solutions when the animal need them.

Tales from the Puranas

Hidden Treasures of India: Folktales and Stories from the Puranas

The Puranas contain stories that teach us valuable lessons about our culture. Though Puranas are sacred religious texts, they have a wealth of values in them. So, when we speak of moral values from stories, we must also consider Puranas.

These tales entertain, instruct, enchant, and help us learn to embrace our realities. Our deeds have consequences. This collection contains all walks of life, all corners of the globe, and all four yugas.

There’s mention of Raavan, the most famous Rakshasa, in discussions of divine incarnations. Even the best saints, like Vasishtha, had to deal with limitations, as evident in these stories. 

They are really simple, yet they show how much control we have over our own destinies as humans. The good and the negative are both part of each person’s life.

Both new readers and veterans will enjoy these stories and have much to learn from this volume.

Further Reading:

To read research papers on Indian folklore, click on this link of the Shodhganga inflibnet.

Read Indian Folktales: Forms, Patterns and Variations in a PDF from egyankosh.


After reading this article, you have come to know some good books in Indian children’s literature based on regional folktales of India. Also, you know that folktales were retold by people in various ways for centuries and that each state of India has their regional folktales.

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