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Garhwali & Kumaoni Culture
Garhwali & Kumaoni culture is not very different from each other. Hilly circumstances have inculcated in them a great love of life and an abiding reverence for their nature and the almighty. These hard working Uttaranchalis have made the endless struggle for their survival. There is not a single aspect of their lives that is not steeped in religion, music, dance and art. Indeed, it is this that sustains them through the bleak, snowbound winters and the other extremes of nature that they have to endure. Many aspects of their culture reflect in their society.

Uttaranchalis lives on the mountains & in the deep valleys. These mountains make them a good adversary of the true nature of this beautiful Uttaranchal State of India.

Languages : The people of Garhwal & Kumaon speak their own language Garhwali & Kumaoni & each community knows both the languages. Other languages spoken are Hindi & English.

Dresses : The people of Uttaranchal (Garhwali & Kumaoni) wear a wide variety of dresses, which are influenced by a) Traditions of the people b) Climatic conditions depending upon temperature. 
Dresses do not vary widely with respect to caste and religion. The clothes for the womenfolk are suited to working in the fields. These are worn in a way that they do not become entangled in the bushes while walking through the forests. The cold season is very severe and heavy snowfall is received in this tract. The people wear clothes made of goat/sheep wool, which is locally woven by them. The grazer communities of middle Uttaranchal put on a type of sleeveless unstitched gown that extends to just below the knee. It is made of goat wool.

MUSIC/SONGS

Mangal : "Mangal" songs are sung during marriage ceremonies. These songs are basically "Puja Songs" sung along with the Purohits (Panditjee) who keep chanting "Shlokas" in Sanskrit according to the Shastras during the marriage ceremony. 

Jaggar : "Jaggar" is a song sung in honour of the various Gods and Goddesses. Jagar is sung in the form of Puja & a folk song or, at times, combined with the dances.

Chhopati : 'Chhopati' are the love songs sung between men and women in the form of questions and answers.

Chounphula and Jhumeila : A 'Jhumeila' song is sometimes mixed but is usually restricted to women groups. 'Chounphula' is performed by all sections of the community, at night, in the groups, by men and women. 'Chounphula' folk songs are composed for the appreciation of nature on various occasions.

Basanti : This folk song is sung individually or in groups when flowers bloom and new life springs in the valleys of the hills of Uttaranchal.

Puja Folk Songs  : These Puja songs are sung with the Puja (worship) of the family deities. Other Puja songs are connected with the 'Tantra' and 'Mantras ' to exercise evil spirits from the human beings.

Khuded : "Khuded" folk songs depict the suffering of a woman caused by separation from her husband. This song is sung generally when; the husband is away from their homes & looking for a job. 'Laman' & 'Pawada' also belongs to this category of folk songs, when sorrow is felt when the husband has gone to the battlefield. 

Different Religion in
Uttaranchal :
A majority of people living in Uttaranchal are Hindus by religion. Others include Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists. The religion-wise proportional break up of the population of Garhwal is as given hereunder:

Religion

% of Total Population

Hindus

92.0

Sikhs

02.5

Muslims

02.0

Christians

02.0

Others

01.5

Religious Faiths of Uttaranchal : 92% majority of people living in Uttaranchal are Hindus so the basic religious faiths of the dominant Hindu population of  Uttaranchal.

A) Shivaism : The worship of Lord Shiva is believed to be one of the basic religious faiths of the people of Uttaranchal. Deities connected with Shiva are considered to be the guardians and protectors of the faith. They are guards at His shrines. "Bhairon" is the protector at most Shiva shrines.

B) Shaktism : The Goddess Durga and her various forms are worshipped in Shaktism. The Goddess Durga is worshipped with great reverence on nine days in spring, and autumn (just before Dussehra). These days are known as nau-durga and are considered to be very auspicious for marriages and other ceremonies.

C) Vaishnavism : "Badrinath" is considered to be the seat of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Badrinath was a place of holy pilgrimage even before the beginning of the Christian era. On Badrinath temple's left and right there are the statues of Nar and Narayan. In front of the temple of Badrinath is the statue of Garud.

D) Other forms of Worship : a) Snake worship: The descendants of the Nagas who lived in Uttaranchal in ancient times still worship the snake.
b) Karna worship: Karna worship is prevalent in the Jaunsar- Bawar area of western Garhwal.
c) Sameshwar or Duryodhan worship: Duryodhan is worshipped in the upper valleys of the rivers Tons, Yamuna, Bhagirathi, Balganga and Bhilangana.
d) Mahasu worship: Prevalent in the Yamuna and Bhagirathi valleys of the western Garhwal.

Art & Painting of Uttaranchal : The original art of architectural work have been found at the following places in Uttaranchal:
The Chandpur fort, Temple of Srinagar, Padukeshwar near Badrinath, Devi Madin near Joshimath, and the Devalgarh temple, all in Garhwal and Chandi district. It is the beautiful land, which inspired the great writers Maharishi Balmiki and Kalidas. All this laid the ultimate foundation for the literary treasures of Uttaranchal, including painting and art.

"Garhwali Dances"
"Pandavas Nritya" :
The Pandavas Nritya, which is related to the story of the Mahabharata, has been very popular, particularly in the Garhwal region. Pandavas Nritya is nothing but a simple narration of the story of the Mahabharata in the form of dance and music. It is mostly enacted on the occasion of 'Dussehra' and Diwali. Pandavas Nritya is popular in Pauri Garhwal.

Langvir Nritya : This dance is performed by the men folk only & it is an acrobatic dance of the region. In this dance, a long bamboo pole is fixed at a place. The dancer-acrobat climbs to the top of this pole and then balances himself on his stomach on the top. Under the pole, a band of musicians play the 'Dhol' and 'Damana', while the dancer rotates on the top of the pole, performing other feats with his hands and feet. This dance is popular in the Garhwal region.

Barada Nati : This dance is a Barada Nati folk dance & a popular dance of the Jaunsar Bhawar area of Chakrata Tehsil in Dehradun district. The folk dance is performed on the eve of some religious festivals or on the occasion of some social functions. Traditional costumes are used for this dance. 
Ornaments of the region.

In every part of Garhwal and Kumaon, traditional Swarnakaras or goldsmiths used to make traditional ornaments using designs and patterns, which are thousands of years old. The ornaments were made in gold, silver & often copper was overlaid in brass.


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