Art & Culture

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    Kumao Festival

    Kumaoni Holi  

    The culmination of joy and happiness  is  reflected  during  Holi which  is    celebrated with great gaiety for one  week. People singing and dancing all around on the tune of Dholak and Majeera is a  common  sight. The uniqueness of the Kumaoni Holi lies in its being a musical affair, whichever may be its form, be it the Baithki Holi, the Khari Holi or the Mahila Holi. The Baithki Holi and Khari Holi are unique in that the songs on which they are based have touch of melody, fun and spiritualism. These songs are essentially based on classical ragas. No wonder then the Baithki Holi is also known as Nirvan Ki Holi.
    The Baithki Holi begins from the premises of temples, where Holiyars (the professional singers of Holi songs) as also the people gather to sing songs to the accompaniment of classical music.Kumaonis are very particular about the time when the songs based on ragas should be sung. For instance, at noon the songs based on Peelu, Bhimpalasi and Sarang ragas are sung while evening is reserved for the songs based on the ragas like Kalyan, Shyamkalyan and Yaman etc. The Khari Holi is mostly celebrated in the rural areas of Kumaon. The songs of the Khari Holi are sung by the people, who sporting traditional white churidar payajama and kurta, dance in groups to the tune of ethnic musical instruments.

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    About kumaoni culture

    Snuggled in the foothills of the majestic Himalayas, Kumaon is located in Uttarakhand, the northern hill province of India . Its cool and fresh mountain breeze , the ethereal Himalayan scenic view , tall swaying Pine and Deodar trees , and the rolling cultivation of hill crops would captivate any tourist . Kumaon has its own distinct and impressive tradition , festivals and culture . Its people are brave , hard - working and honest .
    A Region In The State Of Uttarakhand Is Blessed With Wide Nature Scenario And Misty Mountains. Kumaon Is Also The Administrative Region Of Uttarakhand, Commonly Speaking Language Is Hindi And The Native Language Of Kumaon Is Kumaoni Language. It Is Surrounded By Tibet On North, Nepal On East, Uttar Pradesh On South And Garhwal Region On West.
    The Region Of Kumaon Is Bounded Of Himalayan Mountain Ranges, With Two Sub Mountains Namely Terai And Bhabhar. A Good Amount Of Kumaon Region Is Deep Forest Which Is Fully Under The Control Of Local Forestry Department. Majority Of The Peoples Believe Hinduism In Kumaon Region. It Is Surprisingly To See That The Ancient Rocks, Valleys, Mountains In The Kumaon Region Are Named Some Hindu Mythological Gods Or Goddess Such As Shiva, Vaishnava Bholanath, Gangnath And Airy.
    According To The Researcher Atkinson, There Are More Than 250 Shiva Temples And 35 Vaishnava Temples Are Present In The Kumaon Region In British Times. The Temples Which Are Situated Around Bageshwar, Binsar, Thalkedar, Rameshwar, Kot Ki Mai, Almora And Ganganath Are Worshipping Lord Shiva. Similarly The Temples That Located In The Almora, Nainital, Pumagiri, Devidhura And Gangolihat Are Worshipping The Shakti. The Regions In The Lohaghat – Champawat Are Associated With Kunna Avatar And Sun Gods. However The Region Kumaon Is Well Famous For Worshipping The Lord Shiva, Majorly Because Of The Regions Like Panchkedars And Kailash – Mansarovar. According To The Hindu Mythological Sages Opinion, Kailash Is The Finest And Purest Place To Worship The God Siva.
    Kumaon Is A Region Which Is Mainly Dependable On The Income From Tourism. For Exploring The Scopes Of Tourism, The Welfare Organizations Start A Venture Namely “Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam” Which Delivers The Complete Details About The Kumaon Tourism, Places To Visit, Kumaon Best Hotels List, Kumaon Tour Packages, Kumaon Pilgrim Destinations Etc. It Is Always Feel To Say That Kumaon Is Tourist Spot That Will Gives You The Magnificent Mother Nature Experience

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    Harela and Bhitauli

    On the first day of the navaratris (nine day holy period) of the month of Chaitra women fill baskets with soil and sow seven types of grains in them. The grains germinate symbolizing the future harvest. These yellow leaves, called Harela, are cut on the tenth day and people put them on their heads and behind their ears. During the month of Chaitra (March-April) brothers send presents to their sisters and parents to their daughters. These presents are called Bhitauli.

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    Bat Savitri

    This festival is celebrated on the Krishna amavasya (last day of the dark half of the month) of Jyestha and on the day married women worship Savitri and the Bat or banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) and pray for the well being of their spouses. Women observe fast in honour of Savitri and Satyavan and remember how Savitri through her intense devotion saved her husband from the claws of death.

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    The people of Kumaon celebrate Raksha Bandhan and Janopunyu, the day on which people change their janeu (sacred thread). On this day the famous Bagwal fair is held at Devidhura in district Champawat.
    Ganga Dusshera or DasarGanga Dusshera is celebrated on the Shukla dasami of the Jyestha (May - June). The sacred Ganga is worshipped on this day and Dusshera posters (dwarpatras or dasars), which have various geometric designs on them, are put up on the doors of houses and temples. These posters, once hand written by brahmins, are now printed. On this day people bathe in the holy rivers. 

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    Basant Panchami

    The festival of Basant Panchami celebrates the coming of the spring season. This festival, which also signals the end of winter, is generally celebrated during Magh (January - February). During this festival people worship the Goddess Saraswati, use yellow handkerchiefs or even yellow cloths and in a few places people put a yellow tilak on their foreheads. This festival also marks the beginning of holi baithaks.

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    According to the Hindu religious texts, on the day of Uttarayani, the sun enters the Zodiacal sign of 'Makar' (Capricon) from the Zodiacal sign of the Kark (Cancer), i.e. from this day onwards the sun becomes 'Uttarayan' or it starts moving to the north. It is said that from this day, which signals a change of season, the migratory birds start returning to the hills. On Makar Sankranti people give Khichadi (a mixture of pulses and rice) in charity, take ceremonial dips in holy rivers, participate in the Uttarayani fairs and celebrate the festival of Ghughutia or Kale Kauva. During the festival of Kale Kauva (literal translation 'black crow') people make sweetmeats out of sweetened flour (flour and gur) deep fried in ghee, shape them like drums, pomegranates, knives, swords etc. They are strung togather and worn as necklace-in the middle of which an oragne in fixed. Early in the morning children wear these necklaces and sing "Kale Kauva.." to attract crows and other birds and offer them portions of these necklaces, as a token of welcome for all the migratory birds, who are now coming back after their winter sojourn in the plains.

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    Khatarua is essentially the special festival of pastoral- agricultural society and celebrated on the first day of the month of Ashwin in mid September, and signifies the beginning of the autumn. On this day people light bonfires, around which children dance, holding aloft colourful flags. People take special care of their animals and feed them fresh grass. Cucumbers are offered to the fire of Khatarua, which is said to destroy all evil influences.
    The victory of the king of Kumaon over Garhwalis is also said to be one of the reasons for the celebration of Khatarua. It is said that Kumauni soldiers carrying banners depicting a cow vanquished the enemy and bonfires were lit to declare the victory.

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    Phool Dei

    Phool Dei is celebrated on the first day of the month of Chaitra in mid March. On this day, young girls conduct most of the ceremonies. In some places this festival is celebrated throughout the month with the advent of spring. During this festival young girls go to all the houses in the muhalla or the village with plates full of rice, jaggery, coconut, green leaves and flowers. They offer their good wishes for the prosperity of the household and are given blessings and presents (sweets, gur, money etc.) in return.

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    The Hilljatra, which is being celebrated in some parts of Pithoragarh district, is essentially the festival of pastoralists and agriculturalists. In the developmental process, the aathon (eighth day of bhado) and Gawra Visarjan also became the part of Hilljatra. The festival, which basically came to the Sor valley from the Sorar (Mahakali) region of West Nepal, was first introduced in Kumaour village. The Jatra was also accepted by the people of Bajethi, another village near Pithoragarh town and with some modifications it was introduced in Kanalichhina and Askot regions as Hiran Chital.
    The Hilljatra is related to ropai (the plantation of paddy) and other agricultural and pastoral labours of the rainy season (Hill = mud, Jatra = Jaat). It has also been connected with the victory of the Champawat ruler. There is another story that Kuru, the representative of a Chand King, who went to Sorar (Nepal) to participate in the hilljatra, was able to sacrifice a buffalo with horns covering the neck. The people became happy and wanted to present Kuru a gift.

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