Joined: 21 December 2005
It is the most popular and famous dance of Kullu performed at festivals and fairs. The procession is always accompanied by dance and music. The dancers attire themselves in the traditional dress. The music accompaniment is given by Narsingha, Karnal, Shehnai, Dhol and Nagara.
The dance reminds us of the ancient days when men, before going to battle, performed some rituals by dancing. Thoda is a dance of archery. The dancers handle the bow and arrows in such a swift and skillful manner that it gives the illusion of a real battle.
It is the male dance of the Gaddis-the shepherds of Bharmaur in Chamba district. The dance, initially, used to be performed with small sticks. The dance is usually performed at Jatras - the dance is usually performed at Jatras-the fairs and may last for long hours.
The dance is performed exclusively by the women of Chamba on the occasion of the Jatras.
SHIVA BADAR NATI
The folk dance is from the upper hills of the Mandi region. Men and women perform it together in the fairs and festivals.
The Lahauli Dance seems to have more affinity with the Ladakhi dances than with the Himachali ones. The dance is performed on Surna and Damman, the most essential music instruments of Ladakh. But the songs and ceremonial movements in the dance are specially Lahauli. The dance is performed with simple, majestic steps and at times the dancers inter-lock their hands and move in a circular-pattern. They are fond of using ornaments made of beads and stones. They also put on a long gown embroidered at the borders and a matching jacket over it.
LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM
It is the dance of Kinnauri people who have dance and music in their veins. The dance takes the name from Losar meaning New Year. This is held in Chaitra-Vaishakha. The musical instruments played with Kinnauri dances - the big Dhol, Bugjal-the bronze cymbals Karnal-the long wind pipe, and the Ransingha.
CHHANAK CHHAM (LAHUL SPITI - H.P.)
The lama of Lahul Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh perform this devotional dance related to their well known Chakhar Festival which comes after every three years to pay tribute to Mahatama Budha.
Jhamakada is a group dance performed in Kangra. This dance is exclusively performed by women. The dance is accompanied by a variety of percussion instruments and lyrical songs.
The dance of the lower and plain areas of Himachal Pradesh, the Gugga is performed to worship Gugga Jauhar Pir, believed to be protector of snake and animal life. The dancers carry a big flag and Chhattar-ceremonial big umbrella-to the Gugga's place.
Nati in Himachal is most popular form of dance. Nati, infact, is a dance of a particular area, having its specific rhythm and beat. Depending on these two distinguishing features, we have a rich variety of Natis. Nati is identified after the name of its area like Kullu Nati, Kinnauri Nati, Sirmouri Nati, Gaddi Nati, Shimla Nati. All of them have their own distinctiveness seen in rich costumes and ornaments worn by the dancers and in accompanying songs and instrumental music.
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Joined: 21 December 2005
Popular in the Nirmand area it is played with a bow made from hair of the horse tail. It resembles the Sarangi, but does not have different keys. Its four strings are tuned according to local needs.
This many stringed instrument produces a sound close to the human voice. Played with a bow it can create any tune and is used in folk as well as classical music.
This single string instrument has a hollow body covered with goatskin. The string can be tightened by a peg fixed at the end of the long stick running through the body of the Ektara. It is played while singing religious songs.
It is a string instrument of Lahaul-Spiti and some parts of Kinnaur. It is also played by plucking at the strings.
It has two big cymbals made of brass and is played in all the regions of Himachal. Both the cymbals are held by the string that passes through their center and played by striking them with each other.
It is a guitar like instrument played by plucking strings with one hand while the performer plays a Khanjari (small one-sided drum) with the other hand. Rubana is played in the Bharmaur area to sing Musadhas-folk rendering of religious songs usually praising lord Shiva.
It has small round body made of wood and is covered with goatskin on one side only. It is played with a single hand and is used in singing folk songs. Dadra and Kharwa beats are played beautifully on it.
Like a big Damroo in shape, it is an ancient instrument. Its middle part is slim and both the open sides are covered with goatskin.
It has two kettledrums of different sizes. The bigger one is made of copper and is covered with buffalo skin to produce a heavy and deep sound. The smaller one is made of steel and is covered with camel skin., thus producing a light sound. The Nagara is played with two sticks by a player and is used on festive occasions.
It is the most popular wind instrument of Himachal and is made of wood, steel, copper, brass, silver or even gold. It has seven or eight holes to produce different musical notes. It is considered an instrument of the shepherds.
Literally Shehnai means the emperor of the wind instruments and it is really the perfect musical instrument, capable of producing the subtlest notes. Made of wood or metal it is quite popular throughout the state.
It is also a very ancient instrument and is used like the Ransingha. It has a straight body made of brass, copper or silver. Only two or three high notes can be played on it.
It is played in the high mountain areas of Himachal. Made of metals like brass or silver, it has either a long straight body or usually has the shape of the English letter S.
It is very popular instrument played in festivals, fairs, folk dances and wrestling bouts. Its big round hollow body is made either of wood or some metal. Both the open ends are covered with goatskin that is tightened with the strings running across the body of the Dhol. It is played with hands and sticks.
Joined: 21 December 2005
Folk theatre in Himachal has been playing significant social role. Theatrical performances are known by different names in different parts of Himachal : KARYALA in Mahasu & Sirmour, BANTHRA in Mandi, BHAGAT in Kangra, HARN in Kullu, DHAJA in Bilaspur, BAURA in Una, HARNATRA in Chamba, HARINGAPHO in Kinnaur.
Joined: 21 December 2005
Himachal literally means the abode of snow. The state of valleys and hills, situated in the north west corner of India, is right in the lap of the Himalayan ranges.
The state is inhabited by a variety of ethnic, religious and social groups. Their life is influenced and shaped by the peculiar geographical and cultural conditions they live in. There are nomadic and tribal people living on the high hills of the north while the agriculturists are settled in south and Mongoloid faces are found in valley of Lahul and Spiti. All these people have their own rituals, customs and religious ceremonies. The state is also recognized for the beauty and art of its Basohli, Kangra, Chamba and Pahari schools of Painting. Pahari, with regional variations, is the principal language in Himachal.
Joined: 21 December 2005
Traditional dance, Himachal Pradesh
The people of Himachal Pradesh have a rich culture which is very much apparent in their day to day lives. The colourful dresses of Himachalis will strike you instantly as you make your way through the state. However, more than the dresses or even the notable physical features of the people, it is their warm and friendly nature that will draw you towards them. Interacting with them can be extremely fruitful as you will get to know more about their religious and cultural life as it is.
Watch the various art forms of the people on metal, wood, leather and wool and collect some of these items as memory of your visit. Rejoice in their folk dance and music and even pick up a few notes and steps from the artists. The cuisine of Himachal is not as rich as some other states of the country yet there are quiet a few dishes that you must try out during your visit.
People & Lifestyle
The population of Himachal Pradesh is a mixed one though Hindus are definitely in majority. The Hindu communities residing in Himachal include the Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. There are also tribal population in the state which mainly comprise Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis. In some area, like Lahaul & Spiti, there is a majority of Buddhist population. A percentage of people are also Tibetans. Muslim, Christian and Sikhs are in relatively small numbers. The physical feature of most of the people resemble the Aryans however, there are still many with prominent Mongoloid feature.
Though Hindi is the state language, many people speak Pahari. Pahari itself has many dialects and all of them trace their origin to the Sanskrit language. A majority of the population is engaged in agricultural work, however the more educated of them are now moving towards farming and other newer profession.
Traditional dress of the Brahmin male includes dhoti, kurta, coat, waistcoat, turban and a hand towel while that of the Rajput male consists of tight fitting churidar pyjamas, a long coat and a starched turban. The female of these two caste have kurtas, salwars, long skirts (ghaghri), embroidered tops (choli) and red head scarves (rahide) as their traditional attire. The dress up of the people has now become a mixed one with traditional blending gracefully with the modern.
The typical house in Himachal Pradesh is constructed of clay bricks and the roofs are of slate. The hilly areas have their own kind of house which is made of stone. The slate roof is replaced by timber. The houses are pucca and cattle shed is nearby. The tribals usually have two storied houses wherein the cattle house occupies the ground floor while the first floor is meant for personal use. Labourers have thatched roofs house for themselves.
The people of Himachal Pradesh are extremely hard working and talented and this reflects in their art and craft. The extremely beautiful handicraft that come out of this state is really worth appreciating. Carpets, leather works, shawls, paintings, metalware, woodwork and paintings are just some of the craft forms of the people here. The much in demand Pashmina shawl is the product of this state. Colourful Himachali caps are yet another famous art work of the people. A tribe by the name of Dom is expert in manufacturing bamboo items like boxes, sofas, chairs, baskets and rack. Clay pots and statuettes are also famous and make for a good buy. Metalware of the state include utensils, ritualistic vessels, idols, gold and silver jewelleries.
Music and Dance
Music and dance in Himachal Pradesh revolves around religion. Through their dance and music, people entreat gods during festivals and other special occasions. There are also dances that are specific to certain regions and are best performed by the people of that area.
Some of the dance forms of Himachal are Losar Shona Chuksam (Kinnaur), Dangi (Chamba), Gee Dance and Burah dance, (Sirmour), Naati, Kharait, Ujagjama and Chadhgebrikar (Kullu) and Shunto (Lahaul & Spiti).
As for the music of Himachal Pradesh is concerned, there is no classical form though there plenty of folk music to listen to. The folk stories of mountainous regions often find a mention in these music. The stories range from romance, chivalry and changing seasons. Musical instruments that are quiet frequently used by the artists here Ranasingha, Karna, Turhi, Flute, Ektara, Kindari, Jhanjh, Manjara, Chimta, Ghariyal, and Ghunghru.
Joined: 21 December 2005
Joined: 21 December 2005
By: VIKAS DOGRA
He is all of 21 and making waves in music circles across the country. And for the record it's not the la-Indian Idol kind of waves, it's the applaud he is receiving from the serious most Indian classical music fraternity. This young Himachali is Shimla based sitar player Gagandeep Hothi.
Gagandeep has been strumming the strings of sitar for the last 17 years. He was initiated at the age of four into playing sitar by his father R K Singh, himself an accomplished sitar player. After the initial toddling, the young lad has been "searching for his soul and an individual identity" with sitar under the tutelage of world-renowned sitarists Pt. Budhaditya Mukherjee and his father Pt. Bimlendu Mukherjee both exponents of the Imdadkhani Gharana.
His favourite vocalists include Ustaad Aamir Khan, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and Ustaad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. In his soft spoken manner he talks of the rich heritage of the legendary Ustaad Vilayat Khan in ang gayaki, and hopes he would be able to evolve his own style one day. He has been experimenting with the teen taal for which he claims the inspiration is the rich heritage of Himachali folk. "Music flows from nature, and there is no better school than the lap of Himalayas to inspire creativity," says Hothi.
At the age of 10, Hothi was awarded the prestigious National Scholarship by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, for sitarwadan. Gagandeep stood first for three consecutive years in the competition (junior section) organised at the prestigious Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan held in Jallandhar. At the age of 12, he created history by wining even the seniors' event. As the winner of the senior competition, he was invited to perform the following year along with other renowned artists. He won applause and appreciation from the connoisseurs, the media and eminent musicians. Since then he has been performing almost all across the country – in Himachal, Chandigarh, Punjab, Jammu, Haryana, Delhi besides Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.
What impresses most is the contrast he sets with others of his age. I am not talking about his Reeboks and denims. It's when he starts talking, you know he is confident and surefooted, yet humble and down-to-earth. Imagine a young turk looking you in the eye and saying – It's not the money, I play for the love of music. I want to get the audience back to this rich heritage… the tough way, not the pop-remix route. He either ought to be a master bluffer or be it. My guess is, he is the second variety – he is it.
Presently Hothi is doing his MA in music from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla. He was second in the state in BA (final-year) exams of the university last year – this despite a rigorous six-hour a day practice regime. Of course, for fear of hurting his fingers, he avoids all sports. But he has no regrets. Rather it fills his heart with content he claims, "We live until our breath is constant, we play (or sing) until we practice (riyaaz) regularly."
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