Culture of Uttrakhand: Tradition and Lifestyle

3 years ago

The splendid views of mountains, the scintillating rivers, the soothing lakes, the marvelous hills, the holy grounds of temples, the breathtaking snowfalls, the exquisite beauty of dams, the fascinating tales around the historical buildings, the diverse flora and fauna, and the unity among religions and community,  everything sums up to the state of Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand is a very famous tourist spot. This religious place is also known as Uttaranchal and is divided into two regions namely Garhwal and Kumaon, both providing the best of nature. Lying in the lap of the Himalayas, the state of Uttarakhand has Dehradun city as winter capital and Gairsain town the summer capital. 

‘Devbhoomi’ – ‘Land of the Gods’ is the nickname of Uttrakhand because of it being the home of huge numbers of temples. River Ganga is said to be originated from here. The native people of Uttarakhand go by the name Uttarakhandi or by the name of their region Kumaoni or Garhwali. 

People of Uttarakhand

Uttrakhand is home to many religions including people believing in Hinduism, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism,  and Muslims. The two broadly divided categories are Garhwalis and Kumaonis.

Garhwali People

Culture of Uttrakhand
Culture of Uttrakhand : Garhwal People

The Garhwalis are an ethnolinguistic group in India native to the Garhwal region in Uttarakhand. They speak Garhwali which is an Indian language. The name Garhwal is derived from the title ‘Garh-wala’ which means the owner of forts. The history of Garhwal is believed to be older than that of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Garhwal is said to be the place where the Shastras and Vedas were written.

Garwhali people speak the Garhwali language and its dialects. They are people who reside in the Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal, Dehradun, Haridwar, Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi, and Chamoli. 

Garhwal Paintings 

Culture of Uttrakhand
Culture of Uttrakhand : Paintings of Uttrakhand

Mola Ram was a poet, diplomat, historian, and a painter. He founded the Garhwal branch of Kangra School of Painting. The Garhwal School of Painting by Mola Ram equalizes romantic charm and includes poems. The paintings depict a woman in the most beautiful form. The splendid fusion of poems, religion, and romance in the paintings makes Garhwal’s style of painting one of its kind. More commonly Garhwali paintings are known for their closeness to nature. 

Garhwal Cuisine 

The Garhwali people’s diet revolves around cereals. Flatbread (Rotis) and rice are mostly eaten with pulse-based gravies and lentils (daal). Curries are also widely eaten by people and it is considered the primary source of protein. Leafy green vegetables are also eaten in this area. 

Kumaon People

Culture of Uttrakhand
Culture of Uttrakhand : Kumaon People

Kumaon people are known as Kumauni /Kumaoni in Uttarakhand. They include people who speak the Kumaoni or any other of its dialects. They are found in Champawat, Pithoragarh, Almora, Bageshwar, Nainital, Dehradun, and Udham Singh Nagar. They can also be found living in Doti and Khaptad in Nepal.

Kumaoni history is also older than the Mahabharata and Ramayana. 

Kumaon Language 

Kumaon people speak Kumaoni and it is now considered as the endangered language by UNESCO. 

Kumaon Attire 

Pichhaura is a common traditional attire of Kumaoni women. It is usually worn for marriages, religious occasions, other cultural occasions, and rituals. They are made using vegetable dyes. The colors that Pichhauras are available in are red and saffron. Other attire famous among Kumaon people are accessories made of pearl. 

Kumaon Cuisine

Kumaoni food is also like Garhwali food. They eat simple food which largely comprises of vegetables and pulses. Vegetables like aloo (potato), Kadoo (pumpkin), palak (spinach), mooli (radish), arbi ke patte (colocasia leaves), papad and many other green vegetables and locally grown food. 

Kumaon Folk Music and Dance

Culture of Uttrakhand
Culture of Uttrakhand : Kumaon Folk Dance and Music

Chholiya is the oldest folk dance of Uttrakhand and is the popular dance of the Kumaon region. 

Kumaon Festivals 

Culture of Uttrakhand : Kumaon festivals

Kumaon festivals are mostly celebrated after the harvest season. Phuldei, Ghee Sankranti, Khatarua, Bikhauti, Harel, Ghughutiya are widely celebrated Sankranties in Kumaon.

Other auspicious festivals include Shiv Ratri, Kumauni Holi, Uttarayani, Basant Panchami, Samvatsar Parwa, Ram Navami, Dashra, Janmashtami, Nandastmi, Batsavitri, Rakshabandhan, and Deepawali. 

Architecture and crafts of Uttrakhand

Culture of Uttrakhand
Culture of Uttrakhand : Art and Architecture of Uttrakhand

Uttrakhand art revolves around the wood carving. The temples and homes of the people here can be found having intricate carving on the doors, walls and windows. Floral patterns, geometrical motifs, deities can be found carved on the village houses. Mahasu Devta Temple at Hanol is the prime example of traditional wooden architecture.

Pahari Painting is also very famous among the regions of Uttarakhnd which originated during 17th and 19th century. Other famous crafts of Uttarakhand include handcrafted basketry and gold jewelry from Garhwal and woollen shawls, rugs and scarves from Bhotiyas. “Cradle of Kangra paintings” was the name given to Guleria State. 

Folk Music and Dance of Uttrakhand

Culture of Uttrakhand
Culture of Uttrakhand : Folk Music and Dance of Uttrakhand

The dances of Uttrakhand are related to life and existence of human and exhibit human emotions. Some of the famous dance forms of Uttarakhnd are: Langvir Nritya – a dance form for men that looks like gymnastic movements, Barada Nati- a dance practised during some of the religious festivals.  Other dances include Hurka Baul, Chhapeli, Jhumaila, Jhora-Chanchri, Thadya, Chholiya Pandav and Chauphula. 

Popular types of folk songs include Chhopati, Khuder, Basanti and Mangal.  The cultural anthem of the Uttarakhandis. Is “Bedu Pako Baro Masa”.

To explore Uttrakhand More : Read the below Article

Manjusha Sahai

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