Uttarakhand, a mountainous state, enjoys special privilege for being that part of the subcontinent wherefrom the Indian Civilization actually developed and proliferated to the pan-Indian dimension. This region has therefore been the grand repository of diverse cultures since the intermingling of Khasa and Kirati cultures that took place here ages ago. The tradition of painting in Uttarakhand remained confined only to what earlier used to be the Garhwal kingdom. The art of Miniature Painting flourished in Garhwal under the influence of Mughal and Western Pahari schools, and that too without any feudal patronage. The arts and crafts of Uttarakhand, of which an amazingly rich variety exist, demand and indeed deserve a closer look.
Arts and Crafts of Uttarakhand - The Performing Arts:
The performing arts of Uttarakhand like most other folk cultures in India, revolves around rustic music and dance. The colorful tribes and clans have their own indigenous dance forms which they perform with the accompaniment of local instruments and song. The Bhotiya Dance and the Langvir Dance are two commonly performed dances in Uttarakhand.
The Crafts of Uttarakhand:
The arts and crafts of Uttarakhand are most popularly expressed in the crafts that have been practiced in Uttarakhand since ages now. The three areas in which the crafts of Uttarakhand are best reflected are:
Wood Carving :- The wood carving of the region is breathtaking for its simple beautiful designs. Wooden front doors carved with floral designs, animals & fishes standout for its simple beauty. The carving on one's front door is supposed to be symbolic of his prosperity. In Garhwal & Kumaon the facade of the upper storeys of the dwelling units are wooden and are artistically carved.
Paintings :- Garhwal, is famous for Mughal style of paintings. Apart from that, the folk Art known as aipana, is a speciality of Kumaon. It is a local adaptation of alpana, derived from the Sanskrit lip-to plaster with fingers is practiced by the women folk. The other schools or types of paintings practiced in this region are the pitha, the art form used to decorate the seat of Siva on auspicious days with geometrical patterns; and chowki the (seat) of Lakshmi and Saraswati using floral and traditional patterns.
Ornaments :- In every part of Garhwal and Kumaon, traditional goldsmiths make traditional ornaments using motifs and patterns thousands of years old. The ornaments come in variety of gold, silver, copper and brass.