Uttarakhand "The Abode of the Gods"
History and Geography
Uttarakhand finds mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures as Kedarkhand, Manaskhand and Himavant. The Kushanas, Kunindas, Kanishka, Samudra Gupta, the Pauravas, Katuris, Palas, the Chandras and Panwars and the British have ruled it in turns. It is often the Land of Gods (Dev Bhoomi) because of its various holy places and abundant shrines. The hilly regions of Uttarakhand offer pristine landscapes to the tourists.
The State of Uttarakhand was earlier a part of the United Province of Agra and Awad which came into existence in 1902. In 1935, the name of state was shortened of the United Province. In January 1950, the United Province was renamed as Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal remained a part of Uttar Pradesh before it was carved out of Uttar Pradesh.
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the State has international boundaries with China (Tibet) in the north and Nepal in the east. On its north-west lies Himachal Pradesh while on the south is Uttar Pradesh. Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India on 9th November 2000. The State came out of Uttar Pradesh. Demand for Uttarakhand was first made in 1930 at the Karachi session of INC. It occupies 17.3% of India's total land area with 51,125 sq km.Uttarakhand is a place with great diversity of the region where snow-clad mountains, green hills, fertile valleys, flowing rivers and thriving lakes add to the natural beauty.Uttarakhand is also known as the Abode of the gods, there are several highly venerated pilgrimage places. The tourists must visit Kedarnath, Badrinath, Hemkund Sahib, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Jageshwar, Bageshwar, Rishikesh and Haridwar for their religious importance on Uttarakhand Travel. Each hilltop or bent is known to have a temple, big or small, which are considered very sacred by the locals.Its a region with several natural lakes, which are the center of attraction of the town and good for sporting activities. The popular hill stations of Uttarakhand are Almora, Bhimtal, Munsiyari, Mussorie, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Ranikhet, Chopta, Valley of Flowers, Joshimath and Lansdowne. For unlimited serenity and tranquility in pleasant pollution free environs, hill station on Uttarakhand Travel are ideal for vacations.Uttarakhand is also ideal for several adventure sports activities because of its geographical attributes. The tourist here takes the maximum pleasure out of adventure sports like trekking, ice-skiing, white water rafting, sailing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, yachting, water-skiing and parasailing. To climb the big mountain stretch or to pass the dense jungles of the hills is in itself very exciting. The huge water-filled rivers and deep lakes are perfect for water sports.People who come here also prefer to visit the abundant wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the state. Also dont miss the chance tovisit the Valley of Flower National Park, Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuaries, Nanda Devi National Park, Govind National Park, Assan Barrage National Park, Rajaji National Park and Corbett National Park. Districts: Uttarakhand has 13 districts Almora, Bageshwar, Chamoli, Champawat, Dehradun, Haridwar, Nainital, Pauri, Pithoragarh, Rudraprayag, Tehri, Udham Singh Nagarand Uttarkashi.
Languages Spoken: Langauges spoken here are Garhwali, Kumaoni, Jaunsari and Hindi.
Pilgrimage Sites: Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Panchkedar, Panchbadri, Panchprayag, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Hemkund Sahib, Purnagiri, Chittai, Kaliyar Sharif, Nanakmatta Sahib, Rettha Sahib etc.
Tourist And Historical Places: Nainital, Mussoorie, Pauri, Almora, Ranikhet, Khirsu, Champawat, Dayara, Auli, Khatling, Bedni Bugyal, Valley Of Flowers, Lansdown, Lakhamandal, Paataal Bhuvaneshwar, Gangolihaat, Jolljivi, Kataarmal, Kosani, Jageshwar, Dwarahaat, Someshwar, Baijnath, Pindari Glacier etc.
Folk Songs of Uttarakhand had its root in the lap of nature. It has seen various phases of growth and has undergone lots of transformation during the course of time. It speaks about various festivals, religious traditions, folk stories and simple life of the people of Uttarakhand. Bajuband, Basanti, Chhopati, Chhura, Chounphula and Jhumeila, Jagars, Khuded, Mangal, Puja Folk Songs are some of the folk songs sung in Uttarakhand.
Some of these artists are Sh.Mohan Upreti, Sh.Gopal Babu Goswami, Sh.Narendra Singh Negi ji Gajendra Rana, Meena Rana, Sangeeta Dhoundiyal, Manglesh Dangwal, Anil Bisht, Virendra Rajput, Dinesh Uniyal, Pritam Bhartwan and others.
This is a folk song of love and sacrifice between the shepherds. It is a love dialogue between the man and woman or between a boy and girl which is sung in the form of a folk song
'Basanti' folk songs are composed for the coming spring season when flowers, bloom and new life spring in the valleys of the hills of Garhwal. The folk song is sung individually or in groups.
'Chhura' folk songs are sung among shepherds in the form of advice given by the old to youngsters, having learnt it out of their experience, particularly in grazing sheep and goats.
These are the folk songs popular in Rawain-Jaunpur area of Tehri Garhwal. 'Chhopati' are the love songs sung between the men and women in the form of questions and answers.
Chounphula and Jhumeila
'Chounphula' & Jhumeila' form part of seasonal dances which are performed from 'Basant Panchami' to 'Sankranti' or 'Baisakhi'. 'Jhumeila' is sometimes mixed but is usually restricted to women. 'Chounphula' is a spinning dance performed by all sections of the community, at night, in groups by men and women. 'Chounphula' folk songs are composed for the appreciation of nature during various occasions. Chounphula, Jhumeila and Daryola folk songs all derive their names from the concerned folk dances.
These folk songs depict the suffering of a woman due to the separation from her husband. The woman curses the circumstances in which she is separated generally when the husband is away looking for a job. 'Laman' another folk song is sung on special occasions expressing the sacrifice that he is willing to do for his beloved. 'Pawada' also belongs to this category of folk songs where separation is felt when the husband has gone to the battlefield.
'Mangal' songs are sung during marriage ceremonies. These songs are basically 'Puja songs' sung alongwith the Purohits who keep enchanting 'Shlokas' in Sanskrit according to the Shastras during the marriage ceremony.
Puja Folk Songs
These songs are connected with the Puja (worship) of family deities. There are other Puja songs connected with 'Tantra' and 'Mantras ' to exorcise evil spirits from human beings.
The Culture of Uttarakhand has its roots in past. Among the diverse cultures and traditions of India it is one of the unique culture which can be seen prominently in its various forms of art. Uttarakhand folk dance is not as complex as the classical dance forms but is something which is beautiful to witness. Its a reflection of the deep sited beliefs and traditions of the local people which is performed to express joy & celebrate the arrival of new season.
Barada Nati, Bhotiya Dance, Chancheri, Chhapeli, Choliya Dance, Jagars, Jhora, Langvir Dance, Langvir Nritya, Pandav Nritya, Ramola, Shotiya Tribal Folk Dances, Thali-Jadda and Jhainta are some of the folk dances performed in various occasions in Uttarakhand.
The Barada Nati folk dance is 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. Both boys and girls take part in the dance dressed in colourful traditional costumes.
The Bhotiya Dance is performed by the Bhotias tribe and is connected with death ceremonies. It is believed by the tribal people that the soul of the dead person resides in the body of a goat or sheep and by dancing this way the soul can be liberated for their next birth.
This is a group dance of Danpur Patti region of Bageshwar District in Kumaon. Both men and women dance in a semi-circular formation with gradually increasing pace putting across unbridled joy.
Chhapeli dance is performed by couples with the female carrying a mirror in her left hand and a colored handkerchief in the other. The male plays a Hudukka on his left shoulder accompanied by others playing the Hurka, Manjira and Flute. The dance is a duet that outlines the joys of romance. The woman partner (sometimes also a young boy) dances with a smile and elegant waist movements, either in admiration of her beauty and charm or mocking her ways of expressing love.
Choliya Dance - Folk Dances of Kumaon
Dating back to over a thousand years, the Chholiya Dance has its origins in the warring Khasiya Kingdom of Khasdesh, when marriages were performed at the point of the swords. They were united by the Chand kings who arrived' on the scene in the 10th century. In Nepal, the word Khasa is still asynonym for Kashatrya, and in Khasdesh, too, they took on the customs of the Rajputs, who were themselves honorary Kashatryas.
Keeping the old tradition alive, the Rajputs dance this at their weddings as a part of the marriage procession itself, led by the male dancers who go on dancing till they reach the bride's house. Performed by the Rajputs with sword and shield in pairs, the drummers are usually Harijans called Dholies, while the Turi and Ransing are played by Bairagis, Jogis or Gosains. The Turi and Ransing are typical Kumaon instruments. Perfectly synchronized, and marked with jumps and turns of the body, the dancers show several sword-fighting feats. Attired in the material costumes of ancient warriors, the flashing swords and shields, along with the war-like music, huge red flag with various animal symbols stuck on it conveys fear, joy, awe and wonder, through eyes, eyebrows and shoulders, creating at the same time, the impression of group advancing for an attack.
Jagars - Folk Dances of Kumaon and Garhwal
Jaggar falls in the category of ghost and spiritual worship, in the form of a folk song or at times combined with dances. Sometimes, Jaggar may also be in the form of Puja folk songs and are sung in .honour of the various gods and goddesses.
There are more than 50 ballads on indigenous spirits, gods and goddesses, fairies and ghosts, the most famous Ganganath, Gorilla, and Bholanath. The chief priest, Gantava, fixes the time on whicl1 a jagar is to be formed. Around the burning fire, in a circle, are members of the village or family-suddently, like a magician the Das, or singer, slowly, and with measured drum beats, starts to invoke the spirit. Coupled with his singing, punctuated by the exotic drum-beats, and the shrill sound of the thali', the crescendo, builds up and drives the listeners into a trance. In a fit of ectasy they leap, shout, tremble and j'ump, sometimes tearing off their clothes. As they move around the fire, the Das starts to address them by the name of the spirit or spirits involved and asks the spirits, the questions that are sought by some families and the remedies. Usually the spirit demands a sacrifice of a goat or a bird. The spirit is sent back to its Himalayan abode and the spell breaks-the dance and the ceremony is ove.
While in a state of trance the dancers lick red-hot pokers, or shove their hands into the blazing fire without being harmed.
The instruments used are a big Drum (Dhol), a smaller Drum (Damua), Hurka and Thall.
Jhora - Folk Dances of Kumaon
A community dance, when all barriers of castes are thrown to the winds, except in the village, where the high and lower castes have separate Jhoras, it is danced at fairs to the accompaniment, of singing that grows with the dance.
Performed either in the morning or evening, they are danced at the coming of spring, mostly at fairs, but also to celebrate weddings. From the minimum, number, six, it swells to 200 at times, men and women both joining in. Together they move in a circle, holding each other's arms and slight1y bending their bodies forward as they move. On the first beat of the Hurka, the left leg crosses the right, striking the floor with the left foot. On the second beat, the right foot is thrown sideways with a slight jump and little dip and the performers return to their original standing pose, with the bodies swaying slightly to the back. The third and fourth steps are given to the left and right foot respectively. Each step is taken with a slight jump and the accompanying neck and shoulder movements. This completes one cycle. If the circle is big the Hurka players, accompanied by the cymbals and, flute dance inside the circle, singing and playing simultaneously, rending the air joyous with exhilaration. The men and women dancers, themselves provide the singing following the lead of the Hurka player-the women follow the men-the tempo remains the same neither very fast nor very slow.
This is an energetic dance performed more often than not by men. In Langvir, the dancer climbs a bamboo pole and balances himself at his navel on the top of the pole. Music is given by Dhol and he balances, swivels and almost dances on his belly at the pole, performing other acrobatic stunts.
This is an acrobatic dance and is performed by the men folk only. 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 Tehri Garhwal region.
The Pandav 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 Chamoli district and Pauri Garhwal.
Ramola - Folk Dances of Kumaon
The coming of Spring is a matter of joy to everyone, in Kumaon it is announced by. bards who, roaming from place to place, sing of its charms on a sarangi or dholak : "Oh my bee, oh my beloved, Spring has surreptitiously crept in. Quickly take to the valley of flowers where we will play 'Phag together."
At the Holi festival, forgetting their worries, the people join in festivity lasting more than a month and hundreds of songs of classical, semi classical, and folk variety are sung by both men and women to the accompaniment of the Harmonium, Tabla, Dholak and Manzira (cymbals).
Shotiya Tribal Folk Dances - Folk Lore of Garhwal
Bhotiya tribals have their typical dances like 'Dhurang, and Dhuring' which are connected with death ceremonies. The aim at liberating the soul of the dead person which they believed to have been living in the body of either a goat or another animal. The dance is similar to the pastorals of Himachal Pradesh or the hunting dance of Nagaland.
Thali, Jadda and Jhainta - Folk Dances of Kumaon
While the Thali is a graceful dance of the women, the Jadda and Jhainta are dances in which men and women whirl together with gay abandon. The whole region a kaleidoscope of folk dancing. the Kumaonis, with their powers of endurance, can go on dancing even after a hard day work. A very part of their life, dance and music surge upto fulfil their emotional and social needs, dancing keeping them ever fresh and alive. The Kumaonis prove the old adage. "The tribe which dances does not die."
Uttarakhand is famous not only for its tourist places and pilgrims but also for its values and culture. The culture and tradition of the state can be seen in its songs, dance and also in its delicious dishes.
Dishes & Recipe
These dishes and recipes along with richness in its taste are highly nutritious. The recipes to these dishes are simple too to prepare.
Some of these Pahari dishes are as follows:
- Aloo Daal Pakora (आलू दाल पकोड़ा)
- Aloo Tamatar Ka Jhol (आलू टमाटर का झोल)
- Arsa (अरसा)
- Baadi (बाड़ी)
- Bhaang ki Chatni (भांग की चटनी)
- Chainsoo (चैंसो)
- Gahat (Kulath) Soup (गहत कुलथ सूप)
- Gahat Kofta (गहत कोफ्ता)
- Gahat Ki daal (गहत की दाल)
- Green Chutney (हरी चटनी)
- Jhangore Ki Kheer (झंगोरे की खीर)
- Jholi (झोली)
- Kaapa (कापा)
- Kafuli (कफुली)
- Lesu (लेसू)
- Mandua Ki Roti (मंडुआ की रोटी)
- Mixed Bhaddu Daal (मिक्स भड्डू दाल)
- Palau (पलऊ)
- Pear And Mango Chutney (नाशपाती और आम की चटनी)
- Phaanu (फांडू)
- Roat (रोठ)
- Rus (रस)
- Sani Hui Mooli and Nimbu (सनी हुयी मूली और नींबू)
- Sisunak Saag (सिसुनाक साग)
- Stuffed Gahat Chappaties (भरी हुई गहत की रोटी)
- Thechwani (थिच्वेनी)
- Til Ki Chutney (तिल की चटनी)
- Urad Daal (उड़द की दाल)