culture of Nainital


Nainital is inhabited by Kumaoni people, who are religious, God fearing and superstitious by nature. The deities worshipped in Nainital are Bholanath, Gangnath, Naina Devi, Nanda Devi, Sunanda Devi, Kail Bisht, Golu, Sam, Haru and Adi. The natives dwelling in the hilly areas of Nainital countryside strictly follow their traditions and customs. For example, all death mourning and rituals take place only on Tuesdays and Saturdays while the rest of the days are meant for all the auspicious activities. Visiting a sick person is forbidden on the mourning days and Thursdays and women folk don’t visit their parent’s house on Thursdays. A black dot is put behind the ear or on the forehead to keep the evil away. The ‘Jaagar’ ritual is performed by the natives of Nainital to evoke their local deities as well as the spirits. The general lifestyle and social gatherings of Kumaoni people mainly revolve around religion and culture. The people here are not influenced by the modern lifestyle of city life. The major languages spoken here are: Kumaoni, Garhwali, Hindi, and English.

The traditional clothing of women in Nainital is Ghaagra-Pichora. Even though, today most of the ladies wear saris. Pichora is worn during their festive season. Married women always wear ‘Sindoor’, Mangalsutra or ‘Chareu’, ‘Nath’ i.e. nose ring and the golden necklace called ‘Hansuli’. On the religious occasions women adorn their head with a very long ‘Pithya’ i.e. a Tilak made from turmeric and rice. The men of Nainital wear Pajamas, a long coat and a woolen cap.

Nainital cuisine is mainly based on rice and the recipes made with its combination. Some of the famous food items of Nainital include Ras, steamed rice, bhang ki chutney, Bhatt ki Churkani, Baadi, Black and White Roti, Madwe Ki Roti, Muli ka Thechua, Bathue ka Paratha, Gaderi Ki Sabji, Peenalu Ki Sabji, Papad Ki Sabji, Gathi, Gauhat ki Daal, Lason Ka Lur, Bhatt Ka Joula, Dhai ka Jaula, Bari Bhat, Kaapa Bhaat, Chanda Devi aur Saladi ka Raita, Aloo Ke Gutke, Arsa, Gulgula, Bal Mithai, Malta, Kafhal, Khumani, Pulam, etc. Tourists make it a point to not go back without tasting the flavors of this delectable Nainital cuisine.

Style of Building Houses
The Kumaoni people of Nainital reside in the houses made of bricks, stones, tin, mud and grass. All the houses are built at an elevated area with a slope roof tops so as to let the snow easily slip and fall on the ground. The roof is generally made of stone. A shed is built on the ground floor beneath the elevated abode where the cattle is housed.

The artistic ingenuity of the Kumaoni people is exhibited through their traditional style of painting known as ‘Aipan’. This painting is chiefly made during the festive season. The Kumaoni women folk decorate their houses with beautiful religious motifs of Gods and Goddesses known as ‘Yantra’ or ‘Peeth’. It is a geometric representation of deities through the designs made from the mixture of ochre with rice paste. The Aipan made on a wooden stool or table bears various patterns such as sun, moon, bells, water, janeu, etc. The Pichora worn by women is also prepared by locals in an ancient traditional dying art known as ‘Rangwali’. A bright yellow muslin cloth is imprinted with the designs of swastika in the center and sun, moon, bells, shells, conch, etc around it.

The economics of Kumaoni people is mainly supported by agriculture, tourism and trade.

Songs and Dance
Musical instruments popularly played by the Kumaoni people in Nainital include Hurka, Dhol and Turturi. Traditional dances like Chholia Nritya, Jhora and Chhapeli are also famous in Nainital. Chholia Nritya is a traditional war dance performed using a sword and a shield. Jhora is a group dance. Folk songs of Nainital are generally devotional and portray heroic and mythological themes. At the same time love songs and moral songs are equally popular.

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