Culture of Uttarakhand – Unveiling the True Essence of Dev Bhoomi


Haridwar, Ganga, India

Dev Bhoomi, another name for Uttarakhand, has long served as the epicenter of religious and spiritual knowledge. Everywhere there is a celebration of Uttarakhand’s history, culture, and connection to religion. Here, a diverse range of cultures and races live in peace and harmony. The majority of the state is divided into the Garhwal and Kumaon areas. Jaunsaries, Tibetan refugees, and Bokshas are among the other residents.

History of Uttarakhand


Megaliths, Paleolithic age stone tools, ancient rock engravings, rock shelters, and other prehistoric artifacts demonstrate that the mountains in the region have been inhabited since prehistoric times. Furthermore, there are archaeological relics that show the presence of early humans. Moreover, there are archaeological remnants that demonstrate the presence of early Vedic practices (about 1500 BCE) in the region. Several lineages have ruled Uttarakhand at various points in time, including the Pauravas, Khasas, Kiratas, Nandas, Mauryas, Kushanas, Kunindas, Guptas, Karkotas, Palas, Gurjara-Pratiharas, Katyuris, Raikas, Chands, Parmars, or Panwars.

Architecture of Uttarakhand

Architecture of Uttarakhand
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The communities are naturally arranged in a long, linear layout to maximise the sun. Buildings are positioned in the graded terraces along the contours to disrupt the ground as little as possible. Stone is typically used for walls, while wood is frequently used for structural support and slate is frequently used for roofing. Cobs, which are hand-built, sun-dried blocks, are sometimes used as load-bearing walls. The buildings’ sloping roofs typically serve as rainwater channels. The chajjas are used over the windows to provide cover and rain protection. In order to conserve natural warmth, floors are kept low. For a similar justification, the height of the doors and windows is maintained extremely low. Due to their insulating qualities, clay and dung are widely used, keeping the rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer. A mud paste is used to plaster the walls (both internal and external). Garhwal and Kumaon, the two main regions of Uttarakhand, have distinct architecture styles that have developed as a result of the variations in their regional languages, customs, and cultures.

Architecture of Uttarakhand-2

The Paun, Katuyari, Pawar, and Chand traditions were represented by the king who ensured the prosperity and security of the temples. The kings of Uttarakhand have a preference for building big temples that are often composed of wood and stone and embellished with fine carvings. Temples were occasionally decorated with elaborate peeth and aipan patterns. Both of them are rangoli-style patterns, the first constructed around the gods’ seated area and the second inside a temple’s sanctum sanctorum.The best attire and jewellery that could be found in the area were added to the deity’s sculpture, which was either made of stone or metal. The architecture of the temples was often created in the Nagara or Garhwal styles.

Culture of Uttarakhand

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Uttarakhand is renowned for having exquisite Kumaoni and Garhwali cultures. What clearly distinguishes them are the diverse customs, faiths, fairs, festivals, folk dances, and music.

Garhwali, which also contains a number of dialects such as Jaunsari, Marchi, Jadhi, and Sailani, is the main language spoken here. In Garhwal, people come from all castes and ethnicities. They include the tribes of Garhwal, which include the Jaunsaris, Jadhs, Marchas, and Van Gujars, who live in the northern regions, and the Rajputs, who are thought to be of Aryan heritage.

Kumaiya, Gangola, Soryali, Sirali, Askoti, Danpuriya, Johari, Chaugarkhyali, Majh Kumaiya, Khasparjia, Pachhai, and Rauchaubhaisi are among the 13 dialects spoken in Kumaon. The Central Pahari languages constitute this linguistic family. Kumaon is particularly well-known for its folk literature, which features stories, heroes, heroines, and bravery as well as figures from the Ramayana and Mahabharatha. The most well-known dance style in Kumaon is called Chhalaria, and it has a connection to the area’s martial traditions. Even now, these traditional dance styles are still performed as part of the festivals that are all enthusiastically observed.

Traditional Dresses of Uttarakhand 

Traditional Dresses of Uttarakhand
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Garhwali costumes have brilliant colours, heavy fabrics, and distinctive patterns.Men dress in a kurta, pyjamas, and a koti over the kurta. A Koti is a type of wool garment created in the Garhwal region to ward against the chilly winds.

The women cover their faces with brightly coloured headscarves, a flowy shirt, and a vibrant Koti on top of that. At these occasions, a Ghagra or lehenga made of wool or cotton is also worn.In Kumaoni customs, the bride dons the pichora, a crimson and holy golden headdress, at weddings. Both Kumaoni and Garhwali women wear long naths made of gold, red, and velvet.The “gul band” is a necklace worn by Garhwali

Festivals of Uttarakhand

Festivals of Uttarakhand
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There are three ways to celebrate Kumaoni Holi: Baithki Holi, Khari Holi, and Mahila Holi. This festival’s distinctive characteristic is the amount of music used to commemorate it.

A ceremony called Harela marks the arrival of monsoon weather. This festival is observed by Kumaon community members from July to August during the Shravan month. Bhitauli, which is observed in the months of Chaitra, or March–April, comes after this festival. Women sow seeds in the ground throughout the festival, and by the time it is over, they have reaped what is known as the harela harvest.

On the fifteenth day of the Baisakh month, which lasts from late March to early April, the Jageshwar fair is held in the temple of Lord Shiva in Jageshwar. At the fair, people swim in the Brahma Kund pool as a form of worship.

One of Uttarakhand’s largest and most well-known festivals is the Kumbh Mela. This event, known as the mela, lasts for three months and only occurs once every four years, rotating between Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nasik—that is, only once every 12 years in any one location.

Music & Dance of Uttarakhand

Dance of Uttarakhand
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Uttarakhand music refers to Kumoan and Garhwali songs. This region’s music is likewise influenced by nature. It discusses people’s lifestyles and cultural heritage. It also relates to festivals, religious rites, traditional stories, historical people, natural beauty, and so on. Dholkis, daur thalis, bhankoras, masakbhajas, paintings, harmoniums, and other traditional instruments are employed. Some well-known popular songs include “Bajuband,” which tells of love and sacrifice, “Chhura,” another type of love song, “Basanti,” about the seasons, “Jagars,” about legendary characters, “Khuded,” about a woman’s sorrows, and “Mangat,” which are songs sung during ceremonial ceremonies.

Kumaon and Garhwal in Uttarakhand execute numerous dance arts to worship their gods and goddesses. The greatest time to observe the performing arts of the Uttarakhand people is during festivals and fairs, when these dances contribute to the celebratory charm. The Bhotiya dance is the most prominent dance of the Bhotiya tribe. The dancers dress in traditional clothing and execute rituals throughout this performance. Another popular Uttarakhand dance that visitors appreciate is the Langvir Nritya, in which acrobats are solely performed by males. This dancing spectacle is enhanced by musicians playing various instruments. Barada Nati folk dance, Nritya Pandava, Dhurang, Dhuring, Chhura, and Chapeli are all major dance genres.

Traditional Food of Uttarakhand

Traditional Food of Uttarakhand
Traditional Kumaoni Thaali – Wikimedia

Uttarakhand’s food, like its people, is simple but excellent. Kumaon and Garhwal, two separate areas, provide palates of flavorful foods that are also strong in nutrients. The state’s cuisine is carefully selected to not only thrill the taste senses but also to make the most of the resources available. A well-balanced flavour is the key to traditional Uttarakhandi cuisine, which is primarily prepared over a low fire and includes lentils. While Kumaon and Garhwal are split into various regions, their culinary styles and ingredients are similar. There are also numerous foods that are widespread in both areas but have distinct names. Along with the changing of the seasons, the state’s culinary preferences also alter. For example, while Mathir and Til Laddus or Madua Rotis are popular in the winter, Dubkas and Chholia Rotis are popular in the summer.

Traditional Food-of-Uttarakhand-01
Snack in Uttarakhand

The state’s distinctive lentils and a variety of barley and buckwheat flours are the primary ingredients of Uttarakhand cuisine, which are also known for their delectable flavour and aroma. Garwhal meal is prepared with just the right amount of spices, luring one to savour it. Phanu, Kafuli, Thechwani, Chainsoo, etc are examples of Garhwali cuisine. Aaloo Gutuk, Dubke, Thathwani, Kaapa, Sisunaak Saag, etc are among the delightful delicacies of Kumaon. Side dishes are as significant in Uttarakhand and are consequently made with great care. Bhangeera ki Chutney, Mooli Thechuwa, and Hara Namak are some of the sides that complement the flavour of main course meals. The melting-in-your-mouth deserts of Uttarakhand, such as Singal-Puha, Jhangora ki Kheer, Singodi, and Baal Mithai, round out the gourmet excursion. 

Art & Craft of Uttarakhand

Art & Craft of Uttarakhand
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The state of Uttarakhand is home to a wide variety of art and craft, all of which need close examination. Several different arts and crafts, including painting, woodcarving, jewellery, candlemaking, and ornamental temples, have contributed to Uttarakhand’s rich cultural legacy. The most well-liked craft in the state of Uttarakhand is wood carving. Each Garhwali home has a finely made wooden entry gate.

Among the most impressive wood-carved structures are the Chandpur fort, Srinagar Temple, Pandukeshwar, Devi Madin, and the Temple of Devalgarh. Then there are the fine arts, which include Peeth, Aipan, and miniature paintings. Even though Mughal art had a strong effect on miniature painting, Uttarakhand has its own unique painting style known as the Garhwal Style. Aipan and Peeth, on the other hand, are folk arts that women generally perform in their homes.

A lot of people know Uttarakhand for its ornaments. The copper smiths in the area known as Tamtas are renowned for producing some of the most exquisite and gorgeous copper decorations in addition to the regional silver and gold ornaments. They produce gorgeous pieces that showcase their superb craftsmanship.

women that resembles the modern choker.

Occupation in Uttarakhand

Occupation of Uttarakhand
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Agriculture plays a key role in Uttarakhand’s economy, as it does in most of India, making it the state’s primary profession. Subsistence farming is practised in the majority of Uttarakhand due to its colourful topography and varied agro-climatic endowments. Mixed cropping is employed in Uttarakhand’s steep regions, while single crops are cultivated there. In Uttarakhand, a variety of crops are cultivated extensively, including wheat, coarse cereals, pulses, soybeans, and oil seeds.

There are numerous cultures and festivals in Uttarakhand. Here, residents from all across the nation have made permanent homes, enriching the region’s cultural heritage. It is the ideal location for anyone who wishes to learn more about Hinduism or enjoy the mesmerising Himalayan scenery.

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