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Culture of Himachal Pradesh

The culture of Himachal Pradesh is ancient and rich, and is endowed with diverse manifestations. Himachal Pradesh is more multilingual and multicultural than most of the states in India. There are many languages that are spoken in the state, but of these, some of the most spoken languages are Hindi, Punjabi, Pahari, Dogri, Kangri as well as Kinnauri. The most number of people residing in the state are Hindus, which comprises different communities like Bramhins, Rajputs, Rathis, Kolis, and so on. Hindus account for almost 90 percent of the population of Himachal Pradesh. Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars and Lahulis comprise the major tribal population in this mountainous state.

These tribal communities present a rich and vibrant cultural mosaic. The Gaddis are the shepherd tribes who migrate from the high regions to the lower regions during the cold winter season. The Kinnars hail from Kinnaur and the customs of polyandry and polygamy are still practised among them. The Gujjars are the nomadic tribes of buffalo herders who hail from the northern parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The Lahaul and the Spiti regions manly consist of the Lahaulis, which practice the Buddhist religion.

The handicrafts of Himachal Pradesh are as well known as its high mountain peaks, and are an important characteristic of the vibrant culture of Himachal Pradesh. The major products that are prepared by the handicraft industry of Himachal Pradesh are the carpets, leather works, shawls, paintings, metal wares and the highly acclaimed woodwork and the paintings. The Pashmina shawls of Himachal Pradesh are not only famous in the state but also in the whole country and abroad. The caps used in Himachal, fondly called as the Himachali caps, can be easily construed as among the famous art works of Himachal Pradesh.

The shawls from Kulu are very famous, as are the woolen rugs and carpets from Lahaul and Spiti. When at Himachal Pradesh, try to acquire the large embroidered shawl called thapada to feel the warmth of Himachal Pradesh at home, and a kohana to treasure as a memento. Useful and bright coloured household items made from bamboo are other specialties of Himachal Pradesh. Leather craft of Himachal Pradesh is also exquisite and can induce an added comfort to your feet among other things.

The local music and dance tradition of the state reflects a rich cultural legacy. Most of the music and dances of Himachal Pradesh are centred on religion, and are used to invoke the Gods and the Goddesses during the local festivals, and in many other special occasions like weddings. The major dance forms of Himachal Pradesh are the Rakshasa (demon) dance, Bnayangchu, Kayang Mala, Bakayang, Shand and Shabu dances, etc.

Apart from the fairs and festivals that are celebrated all around the country, there are a number of fairs and festivals that are singular to Himachal Pradesh. These festivals are the times when the Himachali people enjoy while doning colourful outfits and savouring special cuisines. They are integral parts of the culture of Himachal Pradesh.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/06