Culture of Himachal Pradesh
Largely inhabited by the semi-nomadic tribes such as the Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Lahaulis and Pangwals, the land speaks of many cross cultural elements. One may find the culture of Himachal in the day to day activities of the people. While you go around places in the state, you will find people in vibrant colored dresses and caps which are sure to strike your attention. It is quite easy to start a conversation and they interact with others and share information about their culture, tradition, food etc. The various art forms are indeed enchanting and the hard work of the people is clearly revealed in it. The dance forms and the music are delightful and can get you up on your feet. One would not consider the cuisine of the state to be rich in flavor when compared to the other states in the country, but it is nutritious. Though there are different religions prevalent in the state, the essence of brotherhood and oneness is a dominant character. Scroll further and know more about the best tourist destination in the country.
Culture of Himachal Pradesh
Art and Craft
The art and craft of this state displays exquisite touch of creativity and elegance. The handicrafts which the people make are really worth appreciating. The extremely gorgeous carpets, leather works, shawls, paintings, metal wares, paintings and the woodwork needs a special mention. The Pashmina shawls are the most in demand in the state. Also, the colorful Himachal caps are the unique craft pieces of the people. ‘Dom’ is the expertise tribe indulged in making items out of bamboo like boxes, chairs, sofas, baskets and rack. The clay pots and the statuettes are also quite famous and are worth a buy. Under silverware, one would find charming gold and silver jewelries, idols, ritualistic vessels and utensils as well.
Music and Dances
When there is a festival or some special occasion, it calls in for music and dance without which the celebration is incomplete. It is through their dance and music that they plead their Gods. The dance forms present in this state differs region wise. Losar Shona Chuksam(Kinnaur), Dangi (Chamba), Gee Dance and Burah dance, (Sirmour), Naati, Kharait, Ujagjama and Chadhgebrikar (Kullu) and Shunto (Lahaul & Spiti) are some of the dance forms of the state and each one is different and highly complicated. The men of Kullu perform the ‘Natti’ dance wearing churidars and short tunics with the embroidered Kullu caps. This is considered to be a vital part of the tribals. People of Himachal Pradesh usually prefer folk music, but there is nothing such as its classical form.
The major source of income of the people here is agriculture and the more educated section is heading towards tertiary sectors. The Brahmin male is found in his dhoti, kurta, coat, waistcoat, hand towel or turban as per tradition. The Rajput male wears tight fitting churidar pyjamas, a starched turban and a long coat. With the advance in time, people have adopted the modern style of dressing and they are hardly found in their traditional attire. The roofs of the house are made from slate whereas the house is constructed from clay bricks. About 90% of the people of Himachal Pradesh live in villages and small towns and their source of income is from sheep, goats and other cattle.
One may not rate the food to be ‘too spicy’ here. The food is more of simple presentation and nutritious. The cuisine of Himachal Pradesh is more like the north Indians with main prominence laid on the non-vegetarian dishes. They have similar dal – chawal – subzi – roti combination throughout the state. The vegetarian dishes were limited to potatoes and turnips before but, now advanced to the varieties of green vegetables. Some of the unique dishes of the state are: Pateer, Chouck, Bhagjery and chutney of Til. Nasasta of the Kangra region is the sweetmeat and Indra is the dish prepared from Urad dal and Bada/Poldu which is mainly cooked only in the Shimla region.
Like all the other Indian states, Himachal Pradesh displays multi – religional, multi-cultural and multi lingual as well. Among the Hindus, one will find Brahmins, Rajputs, Rathis, Kolis and Kannets. In areas like Lahaul and Spiti, there are majorities of Buddhist population residing as it is located near Tibet and some of the people here are also Tibetans. The state also comprises tribal population which includes Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis. Despite Muslims, Christians, Sikhs being in the minorities, they enjoy equal rights as that of the Hindus. The temples are characterized by the availability and the lack of certain construction materials. One would find beautiful Buddhist temples and pagodas in Himachal.
Fairs & Festivals
Despite the festivals celebrated on an All India basis, there are several additional festivals and fairs that the state owns. During these festivals, the cultural and the religious faith of the people become felt through their devotion in the customs. This time also calls in for celebrations as the people wear colorful dresses and accessories and socialize with everyone. The most famous fairs and festivals of the state are: Kullu Dussehra, Shivratri Fair (Mandi), Minjar Fair (Chamba), Mani Mahesh Chhari Yatra (Chamba), Renuka fair (Sirmaur), Lavi Trade Fair (Rampur), Vrajeshwari fair (Kangra), Jwalamukhi Fair (Jwalamukhi), Holi Fair (Sujanpur), Shivratri Fair (Mandi) and Naina Devi Fair (Bilaspur). The festival of flowers (Fullaich) in autumn is eminent in the Kinnaur villages and they collect wild flowers and offer to the local deity. The ‘Lavi fair’ is a gathering that remained for centuries at Rampur on the India – Tibet road. Here, all the traders gather from Ladakh, Afghanistan and Tibet. This trade route supported the local traders and helped them trade wool, dry fruits and horses.
Pahari is the language which people mainly speak although Hindi is the state language and the mode of instruction in schools as well. Thus, Pahari on its own has many dialects and has its origin from Sanskrit. It is because of the presence of various tribes that the number of languages and the dialects have increased. The state is supposed to have more than 60 dialects. One would find that in places of Buddhist population, Tibetan is the main language. As Punjab is close to Himachal, Punjabi is also common in some of the places in the state.
Once in Himachal, rejoice in their dance and folk music and enjoy the diverse cultural elements of the state.