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Uttarakhand - Lifestyle


JaanPahchan

 

Uttarakhand society is a heterogeneous mixture of the various ethnic groups from the Kumaon and Garhwal regions. Most of the people belonging to the Uttarakhand society are heterodox Hindus and Buddhists; while we also come across a number of Sikhs, who have migrated from West Punjab and settled in Uttarakhand since 1947.

At all auspicious occasions tilak made out of processed turmeric with akshat (Pithya) is put on the forehead. Village ladies are seen with a long pithya starting from the upper nose up to forehead. Various superstitions exists as common throughout the country. A black spot is put on the forehead of a child to ward away from evil spirits . Courtesy calls are made on days other than Tuesday and Saturday. Mourning calls are made exclusively on Tuesday and Saturdays. Visit to sick persons are not made on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Females do not pay visit to their mothers on Thursday. Elders are greeted by touching their feet with ovation of pailagon and responded by chirinjivi bhav or saubhagyavati bhav. Others are greeted with folded hands using Namaskar.

Married women put round ingoor or sindoor on their forehead. On special occasions married women wear huge golden nose ring called nath. Black beaded ( Chareu) garland on their neck is considered to be the pious symbol of leading a married life for a woman. Golden necklace is commonly used but poor people use silver in the neck known as Hansuli. So far as the usual dress is concerned females wear sari but there is still a longing for the conventional dress of ghaghara-pichora . Every lady keeps it ready for ceremonial occasions. People live in houses made out of stone or bricks. Few old constructions are made out of wood also. Wood carvings which was very common in the past are now very rare. In Kumaon, roofs have slopes and roofing is done with the help of tin or slates of stone. In villages, animals live in ground floor called Goth and human beings in first floor. Hill temples are the monuments having mixture of deep sense of art and culture. Sculpture varies with the time of inception of the temple. The mode of worship is also different in many aspects from that of plains. These temples act as the nucleus of the social and cultural activities. Kumaon people organize Jagars to please local deities. Golu, Bholanath, Sam, Aidi, Gangnath are some of the local deities.

The languages spoken by the people of Uttarakhand are basically Hindi, Garhwali and Kumaoni.

A deep analysis of the Uttarakhand society reveals that the native people of Uttarakhand had an agrarian-pastoral way of life, and they earned their living by cultivating the hilly tract.