A. Aipan, b. Wood Carving, C. Folk Dance, D. Folk Music, E. Patachitra Painting, F. Cow Dung Painting, G. Writers Workshop, H. Embroidery, I. Stone Carving, J. Yoga and Meditation. K. Kumauni Cuisine L. Theater (Folk)
See below for details
A. AIPAN – Inspired by the flawless natural splendour of the environment, the people of Uttarakhand have created and nurtured different Aipan over the ages. Craft usually includes utility items like doors, windows, rugs, carpets, baskets and copper utensils. The folk art Aipan made by Uttarakhandis have a unique touch of nature in their designs. The various forms of “Aipen” are Aipen of Door steps, Vasudhaara, Swastik, Astadal Kamal, Lakshmi Padchhinha, Lakshmi Peeth, Bhuiyan, Dhuliarghya Var Chauka, Acharya Chauka, Janeo, Bhadra, Namkaran Chauki.
Doorsteps of houses are decorated with this kind of Aipan. These are beautifully designed decorative Aipan with great aesthetic value. The door steps are decorated with this type of Aipan in combination with ‘Vasudhara’ the vertical lines made by dripping the ‘biswar’ (rice flour solution made by soaking and grinding the rice and then using it for drawing Aipan).
PoojaVedika, door steps of houses, places of worship, Tulsi (a structure made around the Tulsi Plant) etc. are decorated with Vasudhara. Without Vasudhara, Aipan are considered incomplete. These are made by painting the place with ‘Geru’ (filtered red colour soil) and thereafter making vertical lines by dripping ‘bishwar’ (soaked rice powder). The dripping of ‘biswar is carried out by Anamika (ring fingers). These are drawn in blocks consisting of lines in odd numbers like 5, 7, 9 or 11.
Swastik has great significance in Aipan. It is drawn in many different forms during most of the religious rituals as Swastik in Hindu mythology represents all Gods and Goddesses, known or unknown. If someone does not have the knowledge of the occasion’s specific Aipan, the Swastik is religiously accepted as a substitute. Swastik represent the creation and progress. All four arms of Swastik inspire to move forward. Thus swastik is the symbol of marching ahead for success, towards success with success.
Different lines joining at rectangle represent different religions. All these lines join each other at the centre which is the place for ‘Omkar’. The lines are surrounded by dots, which also have a special significance. Any Aipan without dots are considered incomplete and inauspicious. Whilst drawing the Aipan, one has to take care that the group or block of lines in traditional Aipan should end with the dots.
Aipan without dots are drawn on the 12th day of someone’s death (PeepalPani or Shanti Path). On the third day, the Aipan without dots are removed and fresh Aipan with dots are drawn showing end of mourning period.
iv. Astadal Kamal
This Aipan is drawn at the place where ‘Havan’ is performed. It is an octagonal geometrical Aipan with lotus petals and a Swastik is drawn at the centre.
On Deepawali day, footprints of Goddess Lakshmi are drawn from the main entrance of the house to place of worship.
This Aipan is drawn at the Poojasthal (place of worship) where worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, is particularly performed on Diwali day.
bhuiyan refers to negative & harmful powers or bad omen. This is drawn on the outer side of a ‘Soop’ which is generally a very ugly and bad looking sketch of a demon. On the inner side of the ‘soop’ Lakshi-Naranyan are drawn. On a particular day, this ‘soop’ is beaten with a sugarcane stick in every room and corner of the house. This refers to ousting of bad omen, ill will fate or negative powers and welcome of Lord Vishnu and goddess Lakshmi, the God / Goddess of happiness and prosperity.
At the time of Dhuliarghya, the bridegroom is performed by chanting vedic mantra.
Acharya, ‘the kulguru’ who performs the marriage rituals from the bridegroom’s side stands on this chauka at the time of dhuliarghya.
At the place of ‘Janeo’ or threading ceremony, drawing this Aipan is mandatory. This drawing has 15 dots in the centre. Traditionally it is also drawn at the place where men change their ‘janeo’ on Rakshabandhan day.
It is drawn at the place of worship and yajna. bhadra are of various forms depending upon the number of dots such as 12 bindubhadra, 19 bindubhadra, 24 bindubhadra and 36 bindubhadra etc. Jyuti Sixteen mother goddesses are worshipped after worshipping Lord Ganesha for trouble free execution of any task in hand or undergoing ceremony. These are called ‘matrika’ or ‘JeevMatrika’ or ‘Jyuti’ in kumaoni.
To perform pooja of these goddesses, they are drawn on a wall or on a board or nowadays on paper. Lord Ganesha is drawn right side and matrika left side.
Naming ceremony of a newborn is held on the eleventh day. This is the first time when the baby is exposed to sun / open atmosphere (Surya darshan). This Aipan is drawn in the courtyard where the suryadarshan is performed.
Artists comments – Aipan was really interesting. It was nice to learn not only the process of making the folk art, but also the history behind now the symbols are used in the homes and the significance for each community.
– Cynthia Hauk, USA, 2014
“It was really great to learn the ‘folk art” side of Aipan from Manu”
– Janeane Bowlware, USA, 2015
B. WOOD CARVING
Making Itself Known in Uttaranchal
Take trips to Uttaranchal to see one of the most intense art of wood being performed live in front of you. The Craftsmen of Uttaranchal have attained great mastery over this art and it is performed in almost all parts of the state. Done mostly on the temples and the doors of the houses, this local culture embellishes almost all the doors of the house. Locally called as Kholi, the embroidery on the doors mark the social status of a family. The main areas where one can see this art being performed are Dehradun and Nainital. Stone carving is also developing as a famous art in Uttaranchal.
Artists comments – The wood carving workshop will teach you how to carve the wood using the techniques of the Himalayan region, starting from the creation of simple piece to more complex design.
Very awesome teacher, loved the amount of different sculptures. Can’t say I would change anything.
– Nicole Westbrook, Canada, 2014
“It was great to make so many projects + the teacher was really nice.”
– Janeane Bowlware, USA, 2015
C. FOLK DANCE
Among the diverse cultures and traditions of India, folk dance is one of the unique arts which can be seen prominently in its various forms. Uttarakhand folk dance is not as complex as the classical dance forms but it is something that is beautiful to witness. It’s a reflection of the deep sited beliefs and traditions of the local people and is performed to express joy & celebration.
baradaNati, bhotiya Dance, Chancheri, Chhapeli, Choliya Dance, Jagars, Jhora, Langvir Dance, LangvirNritya, PandavNritya, Ramola, Shotiya Tribal Folk Dances, Thali-Jadda and Jhainta are some of the folk dances performed on various occasions in Uttarakhand.
The baradaNati folk dance is a popular dance of the Jaunsarbhawararea 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.
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 expressing unbridled joy.
Chhapeli dance is performed by couples with the female carrying a mirror in her left hand and a colour 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’s 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.
iii. Chholia Dance
Dating back 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 swords. They were united by the Chand kings who arrived’ on the scene in the 10th century. In Nepal, the word Khasa is still a synonym 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 on it convey fear, joy, awe and wonder, through eyes, eyebrows and shoulders, creating at the same time the impression of group advancing for an attack.
A community dance, when all barriers between 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 a minimum of six people, it swells to 200 at times, men and women both joining in. Together they move in a circle, holding each other’s arms and slightly 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.
v. Langvir Dance
This is an energetic dance performed more often 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 TehriGarhwal region.
Pandava Dance is a type Musical / broadway kind of show based on the story of Mahabharata accompanied by dance and music. This is performed mainly during Dusshera and Diwali.
The PandavNritya, which is related to the story of the Mahabharata, has been very popular, particularly in the Garhwal region. PandavasNritya is nothing but a simple narration of the story of the Mahabharata in the form of dance and music. PandavasNritya is popular in Chamoli district and PauriGarhwal.
vii. Ramola – Folk Dances of Kumaon
The main theme of this form of singing is the bravery of the kings. Ramaul songs are mainly legends of their martial prowess and splendour in the battlefield. The Kumaoni drum known as hudka and Kaansthaliis one of the main instruments used while singing Ramaul songs. Among the famous singers of this form, HardaSurdas deserves a mention.
viii. bhotia Dance
bhotiyatribals have their typical dances like ‘Dhurang, and Dhuring’ which are connected with death ceremonies. The aim is that of 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.
ix. Thali, Jadda and Jhainta – Folk Dances of Kumaon
While the Thali is a graceful dance performed by women, the Jadda and Jhainta are dances in which men and women whirl together with gay abandon. The whole region is a kaleidoscope of folk dancing. The Kumaonis, with their powers of endurance, can go on dancing even after a hard day’s work. It forms a huge part of their lifes, as dance and music surge up to 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.”
– Nadia Neiazy, Canada/Germany, 2014
It was fantastic to get all the costumes!
– Audrey Leclerc, Canada, 2014
This workshop was very fun. We learned some nice dances. (…) It was fun to mix it up and improvise certain moves. Manu is a great teacher.
-Karin Miller, USA, 2015
Man was this fun! I enjoyed this worshop very much. It was a beautiful way to experience life as an Indian.
– Bill Uko, Nigeria, 2015
D. FOLK MUSIC
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, Shakun Aakhar are some of the folk songs sung in Uttarakhand.
A Big crowd-puller at melas, this form of singing is Based on a debate format. The singers keep on singing in debate till one of the parties quits. This form has really high entertainment value.
ballads used to invoke bravery in the people of the villages, these songs narrate tales of brave warriors who lived in the earlier times.
Popular and prominent in the Danpur, Nakuri and Gurail regions, the form is a refreshing experience both as a spectacle and an activity to take part in.
It is an inseparable part of Kumaoni weddings, fairs and festivals. Sung in the form of questions and answers, the central theme of Chapeli is love.
These are the workmen’s songs sung on the beat of a Kumaoni percussion instrument known as Hudka.
Hori is a rage among the locals. Hori singing is primarily of two types- baitheeholi and Khadeeholi. With a lot of orthodox classical touch, the songs are really melodious and pleasing to the ear.
Jagar singing involves the invoking of spirit. Sometimes it can invoke a dead person or sometimes the spirit of a God or Goddess. The main singer is called the ‘Jagariya’ and the person in whose body the spirit is invoked is called the ‘Dangariya’. The songs reach a very high pitch and scale with the crescendo reaching its zenith when the Dangariya starts dancing in very rapid movements. 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.
This form of singing and dancing is very famous and prominent in the regions of Almora, Someswar and Dwarahat.
based on the love story of Malushah, one of the kings of Kumaon, and his beloved, Rajuli, the songs revolve around the ups and downs in their love story.
Nyoli is the Kumaoni name for the Hill Nightingale, who is believed to fly from one forest to another, singing in search of her separated lover. The theme of these songs is love and separation. Some of the songs are really emotional.
The name has originated from the Ramaul dynasty of Kumaon. It was a common belief in those days that the Kings of Ramaul dynasties were incarnations (avatars) of gods.
Very sweet in sound and emotional to the core, the songs are an inseparable part of the celebration of the arrival of spring.
Jhoora is community form of dancing and singing in which the dancers form a human circle and keep moving round and round while singing and holding hands. It is a spectacle in itself.
The Kumaoni form of Ganesh Vandana, these songs are sung on every auspicious occasion. No occasion begins without the singing of Shakunakhar.
This is a folk song of love and sacrifice among the shepherds. It is a love dialogue between a man and woman, or between a boy and girl.
basanti folk songs are composed for the coming spring season when flowers bloom and new life springs in the valleys of the hills of Garhwal. The folk songs are sung individually or in groups.
These songs are sung among shepherds, in the form of advice given by the old to the young, learnt from their experience, particularly about grazing sheep and goats.
These are the love songs sung between men and women in the form of questions and answers.
xviii. Chounphula Jhumeila
Chounphula folk songs are composed for the appreciation of nature on various occasions and are sung by all sections of community, at night, in groups, by men and women. Jhumeila is usually restricted to women but sometimes can be mixed.
Jaggar falls in the category of ghost and spirit 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 is sung in honour of the various Gods and Goddesses.
xx. Khuded, Laman & Pawada
Khuded depicts the suffering of a woman caused by separation from her husband. The women curse the circumstances under which she has been separated. This is generally when the husband is away looking for a job.
Laman , another folk song sung on special occasions, expressing the sacrifice that a man is willing to undergo for his beloved.
Pawada also belongs to this category of folk songs, when sorrow is felt when the husband has gone to the battle field.
These songs are sung during marriage ceremonies. These songs are basically Puja Songs (Hymns) sung along with the Purohits (Panditjee/priests) who keep chanting Shlokas (Verses) in Sanskrit according to the Shastras (Scriptures) during the marriage ceremony.
– Carolyn Eccles, Australia, 2014
It was very exciting class. (…) I could focus well, that was exactly what I wanted.
-Sol Lee, South Korea, 2015
Patachitra is a general term for traditional scroll painting in India. Patachitra is a distinct art form that originated in Orissa. It is mainly based on the religious paintings that revolve around Lord Jagannath at Puri’s famous Jagannath Temple. Patachitra makes use of bold and vibrant colors and is painted by a community of artists in Orissa called Chitrakars. Patachitra or pata painting originated in the 12th century and received considerable patronage by kings and rulers. In the 16th century, with the emergence of the bhakti Movement, the paintings of Radha and Krishna were included in shades of orange, red and yellow.
Artists comments-Interesting and nice workshop. I was happy to learn more about the Indian religion and traditional painting.
– Mathilde Rohr, France, 2014
Workshop was good! Teacher told us many Indian God stories so we can focus easily.
Sol Lee, South Korea, 2015
F. COW DUNG PAINTING
Can you imagine using cow dung to decorate your house and keep heat in? According to Indian mythology cow dung is divine. Purity symbols are often used for home decoration in India. It is an art form which will be taught in workshops.
G. WRITERS WORKSHOP-The Writers’ Workshop. What We Do.
The Writers’ Workshop is a leading consultancy for first time writers. We offer professional feedback on your work, run courses, hold events, host a mass of free advice and scout for literary agents.
As writers will come from many different countries, it might not be easy to write in another language than your own. As it might not be English, it would not be suitable to give workshops about the way to write – instead, it will be inspirational workshops. Choosing from different subjects, the writer will get the occasion to learn from the people of the village: their habits, religion, culture, etc will be discussed in order to open the mind of the writer to a different way of living than what he/she is used to. Some excursions in nature will also be organized in order to allow the writer to be immersed in the natural beauty in the surrounds of the Almora Region.
Artists comments- Listening to Dadajee was so inspiring. His insight into life, philosophy, spirituality, writing and creativity is a real gem. I felt very inspired and motivated to write in various form. I really enjoyed the poetry days, and felt I expanded my writing and knowledge by interacting with Dadajee. Thank you!
– Cynthia Hauk USA, 2014
Visit to the village was amazing as was Dadaji! Dadaji is a very inspiring man!
– brighitta Moser-Clark, UK/USA, 2014
H. EMBROIDERY- Art of Uttarakhand
” Embroidery” basically refers to the method of ornamenting a piece of clothing with needlework or embellishment with fanciful details. Thus embroidery is treated respectfully as the art of decorating textiles using a needle and thread. The embroidery of Uttarakhand has earned its fame due to the versatility of creations by the artisans. The artisans of Uttarakhand use an array of stitches that are used to decorate the items. The most important centres of embroidery work are located in the Uttarakhand regions and are admired for the creative excellence of the work. The embroidery of Uttarakhand is one of the main sources of income for communities in the area. There are various methods of this art, which will be offered by this residency programme.
Artists comments- I had great and funny time during the workshop.
– Annika Pettini, Italy, 2015
I. STONE CARVING- Art of Uttarakhand
Temple architecture of Uttarakhand is the main site of its stone carvings. Most of these temples have big and heavy stone carvings. The powerful and rich kings of Katuyaris, Paun, Chanda and Pawars dynasties of this region patronized the Uttarakhand stone carvings. The stones in the temples exhibit very ornamental and intricate carvings. Baleshwar, Kedarnath, Jageshwar, Bageshwar, Panch Kedar, and Almora showcase some extraordinary stone carvings of Uttarakhand. Many artists, within Uttarakhand adopted this art form and practice it today with the same intensity, dedication and purity. We are offering this art form in this programme.
Artists comments- I think this class was amazing. best material.
– Nicole Westbrook, Canada, 2014
I was very proud of what I accomplished.
Janeane Bowlware, USA, 2015
J. MEDITATION AND YOGA-Yoga and Meditation
Our way to..
Health and Spirituality…
Yoga and meditation -a holistic approach to uniting body, intellect and soul.
Archaeological sources claim that an early form of yoga was already known approximately 5000 years ago.
Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization (c. 3300–1700 b.C.) sites in Pakistan depict figures in positions resembling a common yoga or meditation pose, showing “a form of ritual discipline”, suggesting a precursor of yoga.
Currently, yoga is widely used and accepted in all corners of the globe.
The beneficial effects of yoga positively affect the physical condition of the human body as well as contribute to uncovering the spiritual potential through the use of meditation as an integral part.
Artists comments- The idea of a workshop of yoga and meditation is great! Lots of us were very excited for that, so will do it next year for sure!
– Annika Pettini, Italy, 2014
I could learn about variety of ways to meditate. And breathings. (…) The papers the teacher gave us will be good help to keep meditating. Great!
– Sol Lee, South Korea, 2015
K. Kumauni Cuisine-
There is a saying that ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’; the varied mouth-watering food delights prepared in Uttarakhand vividly exemplifies this phrase. The state of Uttarakhand caters an entire caboodle of salivating food delicacies to satiate the hunger of the food-enthusiasts with varied tastes. The food items of Uttarakhand are bestowed with an unique quality that makes them very nutritious and well beseemed to the taste-buds; that is, they are primarily cooked over charcoal or burning wood. This characteristic feature precisely demarcates the food items of Uttarakhand from the cuisine hailing from the rest of the country.
Although the residents of Uttararkhand prefer a purely vegetarian meal, a major bulk of the inhabitants also bask food recipes readied from mutton or chicken. The cuisine descending from the Kumouni region bears an uncanny lineament; that is milk or milk related products are seldom used as ingredients in cooking their food. The reason behind this bizarre trend is the fact the topological features of the area do not permit the hill cows to manufacture milk of the finest quality. Some of the items are Bhat ki Chudkani, Badi, Gulgula, Jholi Bhaat, Dupke etc.Read More
|Best Dishes :||Singal, Gahat ki Dal, Rus, Aloo ke Gutke.|
|Non Veg Dish :||Chicken Korma.|
|Veg Dishes :||Kandalee ka Saag, Kaafli, Arsa, Gulgula and Kulath Phanu.|
|Festive Delicacies :||Kesar Halwa During Basant Panchami Festival in January, Sei During the Phool Dei Festival.|
|Sweet Dishes :||Kesar Halwa, Jhangora Ki Kheer, Arsa.|
|Interesting Fact :||In Uttaranchal Hash Seeds, Locally Known as Bhanga Are Used as Spices.|
|Must Try :||Bhatt (a Variety of Soya Bean) and Rust Brown Gahat Also Called Kulath – Most Famous Dish of Uttaranchal.|
|Inside Tip :||Uttaranchal Food is Very Nutritious and is Cooked in the Traditional Way, Using Charcoal or Wood Fire. Do not Miss it.|
Artists comments- This class was amazing and Manu’s contribution too. All people who participated the class were great.
– Joyce Rivas Medina, Colombia, 2015
It was very exciting experience. I saw how to make real Indian home meals. Also, making food for all people made me happy. Now, I will prepare Indian food for my family when I go back. Thank you.
– Sol Lee, South Korea, 2015
L. Theater (Folk) –
This year, we are introducing one more new art form, that is theater.In general, Folk is an indigenous unit of human revolution. So learning life-style by practicing theater in its finest form is a great part of PECAH.