20 July 2014
Last updated at 19:12 ET
The Bishnois are an Indian tribe whose members live by the philosophy of protecting trees and showing compassion to all living beings. They live in the arid region bordering the Thar desert in western India. Photographer Arindam Mukherjee of Agency Genesis visited a Bishnoi village near Jodhpur city in Rajasthan state.
The Bishnois live in harmony with the land and its animals. Here, a man walks past a group of spotted deer, locally called chinkaras, in a forest near Jodhpur.
Bishnois are often described as the "original ecologists" from India.
Long before environmental crusades became mainstream, hundreds of Bishnois laid down their lives for the cause. Here, a painting at a Bishnoi restaurant depicts an incident from 1730 when 363 Bishnoi men, women and children died trying to protect trees when the region's king sent his men to cut them to build a palace.
In Bishnoi villages, birds and animals roam without fear and feed off human hands. Here, Visudhanand Bishnoi feeds black bucks and spotted deer in the forest area near Jambeswar temple at Jajwal near the city of Jodhpur.
The community's commitment to nature can be seen in their simple lifestyle - in the home cooked vegetarian food they eat and the choice of plain nature-friendly clothes of white and earth colours they wear.
Women here are known to have a fondness for gold and possessing the yellow metal is considered a status symbol as well as good investment. The nose ring that Sayari Devi is wearing is a traditional mark of Bishnoi women.
Bishnois are fond of opium and often greet visitors to their homes with amal, an opium drink. Here, a Bishnoi man in Jodhpur prepares amal at home.
Both Bishnoi men and women can be see working in their farms and fields.
Bishnois are known for their strong opposition to hunters and poachers and, in recent years, have fiercely fought court cases against the rich and powerful, including Bollywood actors, for indulging in hunting.