Culture of Himachal Pradesh

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Himachal was one of the few states that had remained largely untouched by external customs, largely due to its difficult terrain. With the technological advancements, the state has changed very rapidly.

Himachal Pradesh is a multireligional, multicultural as well as multilingual state like other Indian states. Some of the most commonly spoken languages are Hindi, Punjabi, Pahari, Dogri, Mandeali, Kangri and Kinnauri.[1] The Hindu communities residing in Himachal include the Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. There are also tribal population in the state which mainly comprise Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis.[2]

Himachal is well known for its handicrafts. The carpets, leather works, shawls, paintings, metalware, woodwork and paintings are worth appreciating. Pashmina shawl is one of the products which is highly in demand not only in Himachal but all over the country. Himachali caps are also famous art work of the people.

Local music and dance reflects the cultural identity of the state. Through their dance and music, they entreat their gods during local festivals and other special occasions.

Apart from the fairs and festivals that are celebrated all over India, there are number of other fairs and festivals, including the temple fairs in nearly every region that are of great significance to Himachal Pradesh.

The day to day food of Himachalis is very similar to the rest of the north India. They too have lentil, broth, rice, vegetables and bread. As compared to other states in north India non-vegetarian cuisine is more preferred. Some of the specialities of Himachal include Manee,Madeera,Pateer, Chouck, Bhagjery and chutney of Til.

Ethnicity[edit]

Around 96% of the population of the state is of Hindus. The major communities includes Brahmins, Rajputs, Choudharies, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. The tribal population comprises the Gaddis, Kinnars, gadoun,(jadoun) Tanolis. Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis. From the alpine pasture regions to the lower regions during the cold winter season are mainly Hindus. The Kinnars are the inhabitants of Kinnaur and they generally practice polyandry and polygamy. The Gujjars are nomadic people who rear buffalo herds and are mainly Muslim. The Lahaulis of Lahaul and Spiti and native of spiti, Kinnaur region mainly comprises Buddhists.[3]

People and lifestyle[edit]

Himachal Pradesh is a multireligional, multicultural as well as multilingual state like other Indian states. The Hindu communities residing in Himachal include the Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis, Gurkhas and Kolis.[4] There are also tribal population in the state which mainly comprise Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis. In some areas, like Lahaul and Spiti, there is a majority of Buddhist population since the area is located near Tibet. A percentage of people are also Tibetans. Muslim, Christian and Sikhs are in minority but they also enjoy the same rights as Hindus.

Though Hindi is the state language, many people speak Pahari also. Pahari itself has many dialects and all of them trace their origin to the Sanskrit language- also known as origin of all languages. A majority of the population is engaged in agricultural practices, however the more educated of them are now moving towards tertiary sectors. As per the traditional dressing norms the dress of the Brahmin male includes dhoti, kurta, coat, waistcoat, turban and a hand towel while that of the Rajput male consists of tight fitting churidar pyjamas, a long coat and a starched turban. With the changing time the dress up of the people has now become a mixed one. Though the above mentioned style is now hardly followed, people have started wearing western style of clothes.

The typical house is constructed of clay bricks and the roofs are of slate. In some areas the slate roof is also replaced by timber.

Arts and crafts[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Arts and crafts of Himachal Pradesh.

The handicraft that comes out of this state are the carpets, leather works, shawls, paintings, metalware, woodwork and paintings. Pashmina shawl is the product which is highly in demand not only in Himachal but all over the country. Colourful Himachali caps are also famous art work of the people. A tribe namely Dom is expert in manufacturing bamboo items like boxes, sofas, chairs, baskets and rack. Metalware of the state include utensils, ritualistic vessels, idols, gold and silver jewelleries.

Weaving, carving, painting, or chiselling is considered to be the part of the life of Himachalis. Himachal is well known for designing shawls especially in Kullu. The architecture, objects, shops, museums, galleries and craftsmen charm with the variety perfected through time.

Women take an active part in pottery and men in carpentry. For ages, wood is used in Himachal in the construction of temples, homes, idols etc.

Music and dance[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Music of Himachal Pradesh.
For more details on this topic, see Traditional dances of Himachal Pradesh.

Music and dance of Himachal Pradesh reflects its cultural identity. Through their dance and music, they entreat their gods during local festivals and other special occasions. There are also dances that are specific to certain regions of the state.

Some of the dance forms of Himachal are Losar Shona Chuksam(Kinnaur), Dangi (Chamba), Gee Dance and Burah dance, (Sirmour), Naati, Kharait, Ujagjama and Chadhgebrikar (Kullu) and Shunto (Lahaul & Spiti).

People of the state generally prefer folk music. There is no classical form of music, as for the Himachal Pradesh is concerned. Himachali dance forms are highly varied and quite complicated. These dances are very vital part of the tribal life. It reflects the culture and the tradition of Himachal Pradesh. Hardly any festivity here is celebrated without dancing. Some of the dance forms like Dulshol, Dharveshi, Drodi, Dev Naritya, Rakshas Nritya, Dangi, Lasa, Nati and Nagas are danced all over the region.

Fairs and festivals[edit]

Apart from the fairs and festivals that are celebrated all over India, there are number of other fairs and festivals also that are at the high point of Himachal Pradesh. These festivals are the time for the Himachalis to adorn colourful dress and accessories and get mixed up with the rest of their kins. Some of these fairs and festivals in the upper regions are the Kullu Dussehra, Shivratri Fair (Mandi), Shoolini Mela (Solan), Minjar Fair (Chamba), Mani Mahesh Chhari Yatra (Chamba), Renuka fair (Sirmaur), Lavi Trade Fair (Rampur), Vrajeshwari fair (Kangra), Jwalamukhi Fair (Jwalamukhi), Holi Fair (Sujanpur), and Naina Devi Fair (Bilaspur),Fulaich {Kinnaur valley}. In the lower regions of Himachal are temple Fairs in Una District such as the Peeplo Fair, the 'Mairi' Guruduwara Fair, the 'Chintpurni' temple Fair, the 'Kamakhya temple' Fair, including the annual Himachal Hill Festival in the village Polian Purohitan during the fourth week of October.

Cuisine[edit]

The day to day food of Himachalis is very similar to the rest of the north India. They too have lentil, broth, rice, vegetables and bread. As compared to other states in north India non-vegetarian cuisine is more preferred. Traditionally, Himachali cuisine is dominated by red meat and wheat bread. Thick and rich gravy, with aromatic spices, is used in abundance as the base of many dishes. Now, steamed momos (dumplings) and noodles are also readily available and popular with travellers who want to graduate to Indian food slowly.[5] Some of the specialities of Himachal include Manee', Madira, Pateer, Chouck, Bhagjery and chutney of Til.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The people and tribes". www.123himachal.com. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  2. ^ "Culture of Himachal Pradesh". Indialine (2007). Retrieved 2007-05-03. 
  3. ^ Ethnicity of Himachal Pradesh Retrieved on 05-27-2007
  4. ^ Culture of Himachal Pradesh @indialine.com
  5. ^ "Himachali Cuisine, A Plesantly Surprising Fusion". www.onetikk.com. Retrieved 2013-01-31.