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Uttarakhand Culture

Art & Culture

Uttarakhand or better known among the natives as Uttaranchal is famous across India for its holy places. This Devbhoomi (Land of Gods) is situated in the mountainous region of the Himalayas and is also a popular tourist destination. 

The culture of a place depends upon its inhabitants, environment and its heritage. Uttarakhand has all the things in abundance. In fact, it has every thing that any tourist could want. The most significant donor for giving mass appeal to tourism in Uttarakhand is the state’s rich culture, an excellent intermingling of exoticism as well as the way of life. Frequently thought-out to be the belt of Hindu culture, the Uttarakhand's culture is beyond doubt one of the most vital tourist attractions of Uttarakhand .

The highlights of the Uttarakhandi culture should be its history, people, religion and dances.

Uttarakhand is home to Garhwalis and Kumaonis depending on which part of Uttarakhand they belong to. It has a rich culture of which, music and dance are an integral part. Various languages are spoken here like Garhwali, Kumaoni, Bhoti and even Hindi. Silver and gold jewellery is a significant part of traditional Uttarakhand attire. If you visit Uttarakhand, you will find women wearing gold kundal (earrings) and often having multiple piercings in their ears.

Garhwali Traditional Dresses Women's Traditional Dresses

In the Garhwal region of this Northern state, women usually wear sari tied in a particular way, the pallu going from the front and knotted on the shoulder, with a waistband made of cloth. This is considered convenient for women, as it makes it easier to carry food and does not interfere with their work on the fields. Earlier, the sari was worn with a full sleeves Angra (blouse) with buttons made from silver, to protect the women from the cold. They also don a headscarf scarf to protect their hair from damage and to carry the harvest. A married woman was supposed to wear hansuli (silver ornament) worn around the neck, guloband (resembles the contemporary choker), black beads and silver necklace called chareu, silver payal, silver necklace, silver dhagula (bracelet) and bichuye (toe rings). Sindoor along with bindi was also mandatory for a married woman. Even today, a Gulaband is a distinct feature of a married woman. It is designed on a maroon or blue band with gold square pieces arranged on it. Hansuli A woman wearing a gold bulaq on her nose. Traditionally, a newly married woman was expected to wear a big gold septum ring called bulaq. It was given as a dowry by the bride's family. Weddings are a significant event in this community. The bride dons a red ghaghra with a big nath (nose ring), maang teeka, bulaq, guloband, kamar bandh (silver) among others, all made from gold.

Men's Traditional Attire

Garhwali men usually wear kurta and pyjama or kurta and churidar, depending on their age. This is the most common attire in the community. This is paired with a topi by the young or pagadi by the older men to protect themselves from the cold. A lot of men also started wearing suits after the influence of the British. The fabric used for clothes differs according to the region's weather conditions, wool in colder regions and cotton in warmer regions.
During weddings, a yellow coloured dhoti and kurta are still the preferred attire for the groom. Men used to travel distances on foot, and as a way to protect themselves from theft, they carried their silver coins inside a pouch which was tied around their waist. This was hidden from view as it was worn inside their clothes.

Kumaoni Traditional Dresses Women's Traditional Attire

The women in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand can usually be found wearing a ghagra along with a kameez (shirt) as a blouse. This closely resembles the attire worn by many Rajasthani women. Kumaoni women also wear pichoras, a type of garment common during weddings and ceremonies. Traditionally this was dyed and made at home and was yellow. Even today, women don this traditional pichora on their wedding day.

In Kumaon region, married women wear big naths made from gold covering their entire cheek, hansuli, black beaded necklace or chareu, bichuye (toe rings) made from silver, and sindoor. These were considered mandatory. A woman adorned in the traditional jewellery (Pithoragarh)

Kumaoni Men's Traditional Attire

The regular clothes of the men of Kumaon region resemble that of Garhwali. They too wear kurta and pyjama along with a turban or topi. However, they can be found wearing jewellery on their necks or hands. Something which is specific to the Kumaon region. They have a distinct style of clothing which is very colourful and involves a lot of jewellery, making them stand apart from their Garhwali neighbours. Even the men wear jewellery like earrings, kadas, necklaces, etc. along with a traditional cap called digwa made from woollen cloth. Women wear a ghagra, a woollen coat, and dhantu (scarf). During festivals, they wear Thalka or Lohiya, which is a long coat. While for men, a lot of their clothing patterns have remained the same. If one travels to Uttarakhand, a lot of people of the older generation can be found wearing traditional clothing. These are still quite common among people of the rural region. Although, the most perceivable difference between then and now is the amount of jewellery; which has dramatically decreased over time.

The culture of a place depends upon its inhabitants, environment and its heritage. Uttarakhand has all the things in abundance. In fact, it has every thing that any tourist could want. The most significant donor for giving mass appeal to tourism in Uttarakhand is the state’s rich culture, an excellent intermingling of exoticism as well as the way of life. Frequently thought-out to be the belt of Hindu culture, the Uttarakhand's culture is beyond doubt one of the most vital tourist attractions of Uttarakhand. The highlights of the Uttarakhandi culture should be its history, people, religion and dances. All of them are a beautiful amalgamation of different influences from all the races and dynasties it has been ruled by.

History

Uttarakhand literally means Northern Section. Earlier it was a part of the state of Uttar Pradesh but now it is an independent state. Uttarakhand also has the sobriquet of ‘The Land of Gods’ and ‘The Heavenly Abode’.

People

Uttarakhand is a region with great ethnic diversity. Though nobody can be called a native here, there are tribes and villages of people who have no other place to relate to. They are mostly dependent on agriculture and handicrafts.

Religion

Religion or faith can be defined as belief in a supernatural power that protects us, punishes us and provides us with whatever we need. It sometimes has a face and sometimes it doesn’t but the faith prompts people to worship this power.

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