People of Himachal Pradesh are very quiet; they love simplicity and are busy in nurturing their fields, flocks and orchards. The population here consists of various tribes namely Gujaris, Gadis, Kinnauris, Lahulis, Rajputs and Pangwalis. Hindi is the official language spoken here and the principle language is Pahari. Himachal Pradesh is amongst the least populated state in India, the urban population consists of less than 10 percent of the total population. The simple people of Himachal Pradesh still deeply believe in God.
Himachal Pradesh is decorated with the rich cultural heritage. The land of Himachal Pradesh is well known for its rich culture which is deeply emerged in art, music, songs, dance, fun and fairs annually arranged by the local people. The Shimla Hills, The Kullu-Manali Valleys and the beauty dwelled in nature’s lap, Dalhousie is a major tourist attractions. Skiing, fishing, mountaineering, golfing and the most important trekking are the major activities that make it unique and adventurous to visit Himachal Pradesh.
Chamba Rumal :
The unique embroidery style is most popular in Himachal Pradesh. It measures about two to six feet in length. These handkerchiefs are popularly known as ‘Kashida’. The embroidery is similar on both sides and the colorful silk threads are used for its weaving.
It’s Origin :
This craft was especially designed to cater to the kings in the ancient times. This craft was designed by the women that could offer them to develop the craft. Chamba Rumal means the handkerchief crafted specially to drape or can be used as a scarf. Gradually this design became popular on the others items too like hand fans, caps, wall hangings and pillowcase.
The embroidery that marks the positive imprints on both the sides are known as Dorukh. The same techniques were used by the Punjabis who created the craft which is known as Phulkari. But the original artistic design is hard to explain and were so beautiful that had the paintings of Kangra which was shared by the thread of Chamba and a needle.
Themes of the Design :
Since, it is situated in the North, it has a devotion dedicated to Lord Krishna, and hence, the theme of the designs favored Krishna Lila. Battle scene, architecture, hunting expeditions, floral design and wealth of geometrical have been clearly drafted on the clothes. The base cloth is very soft and woven into cotton fabrics basically know as mal-mal which had the designs crafted with silk threads. The density of the Rumal determines the quality of the Rumal. The traditional design has been modified as per todays requirements like for Napkins, Table Clothes, Wall Paintings, and even Bed Sheets.
Kullus Handicraft :
A cloth weaved from the fine wool obtained from lamb from the first shearing is known as Cholas.
A craft designed by beating the wool rather than weaving are known as Namdas.
Bags and blankets made up from wool obtained from Giangi Sheep with the natural border of red and black. They are specially used to make warm blankets.
They are found in the Bashleo region which is designed in the form of slippers usually the lower portion is made up of ‘bhang’and the upper portion is made up from the hair of goats which are known as ‘shell’.
The baskets made up of high species of Bamboos are well known as ‘Nagral’. The baskets were most used while trading the fruits packed in the baskets by orchardists.
Himachal’s Caps :
Himachal Pradesh has beautiful caps weaved with the help of various colourful posse of shaneel around.
Kullu Shawls :
Kullu Shawls are as famous as the red luscious apples from Himachal Pradesh.
These are heavier and thicker than the normal shawls. Quite thick and rough too popularly known as ‘Dohru’. This is generally wraped by women just like sari with the difference in fold. Both ends of this pattoos are pinned just below the shoulder and it is not necessary to cover the head with it. The long chalins holding them are known as ‘Bhoomini’. It is tied up with the cloth known as Gachi. These colorful cloths depict the joyous nature of the local people with lively picturesque.
The shawl with the plain image locally are known as ‘Loi’ generally woven by all irrespective of Zamindars or Brahmins or any other caste in pit looms to construct their houses.
Past Hidden Behind Pattoos :
It is believed that the introduction of designs and flowers on the beautiful Pattoos was created by a family who used to weave wool of Bushehar who had been in the district around 150 to 200 years back. Now, there are many of their decendents who continue this as a profession of being a craftsman passing it from one generation to another. These ‘Pudar Pattoos’ are well famous as ‘Bushehari Dhari’
Significance of Pattoos :
The major role of the shawl pattoo is to connect a link in between the purchasers and the manufactures and involve the whole district to enhance this trade. Pattoos are woven only for the personal use of the local people. There is no false belief that is connected along with this pattoos. On its converse, all the people irrespective of their caste take pride in carrying their pattoos to their families and friends. It has acquired a higher significance in Himachal Pradesh as they are worn by women folk and the cholas basically the long coats by men while performing their art form or dance in any fair or festival or religious occasion gives a spiritual enticement and feeling of enjoying their religious and auspicious aspiration.
Thankas Painting :
Forte of Himachal Pradesh :
These religious monasteries which consist of manuscript, paintings and scriptures belonging to the region of Lahual, Spiti and Kinnaur are popularly known as ‘Thankas’. Thankas is named for the paintings of the clothes which are believed to eradicate the ‘evil eye’ prevent mental depression and the maleficent influences.
Past Behind Thankas :
Thankas were brought by the missionaries from the Buddhist religion from the lands of Tibet, Kashmir and neighboring countries to these districts to prevent them from the evil spirits. However, they are found in plenty in the Ki-monastery from Spiti.
The Aspiration and Themes :
The paintings are designed in geometrical structure well known as ‘Mandalas’ which gives a traditional outlook. Mandalas are the symbols who define cosmos in their geometric designs.
The Thankas generally consists of the stories related to the past of Buddha’s life or the Jataka Tales. ‘Bodhisattavas’ and the other divinities are depicted in the form of painting with the attractive acolytes or retinues. These painting comprises of the beautiful combination of the divine stories. They also depict the culture and the tradition along with the literature followed at that period. The craftsmen were specially trained to develop these paintings within their own paradise.They use to copy the popular images and the scenes along with deities to create the artwork. The craftsmen were anonymous. The dreadful scenes from the painting consist of skeleton, dead creatures, mutilations of blood, ejecting blood and many more things. ‘Tantric Thankas’ portrayed the Sidhhas, goddess, gods, apsaras, demons and yogini in numerous yogic postures.
Process to Proceed Painting :
The coarse woolen cloth is used to paint Thankas. Silk is most preferable while painting Thankas. Well, Painting of the Thankas is quite time consuming and long. The fabric is extended on the frame made up of wood and a thin coat of starchy adhesive made up from talcum powder and glue, is applied on the surface of the cloth to cover the blocks and the texture of the cloth. As it gets dried the artist makes the cloth smooth by rubbing it with stone.
Charcoal was mainly used to draw an outline for the painting. However, it consists of the main figure that lies in the centre which depicts the main theme of the painting. The brushes are then used to fill the painting. The painting has more of gold color to enrich the garments of the deities in the painting.
Casting Colors :
The beautiful color combinations are used to paint Thankas. The divine deity are used to color in white where as the dreadful evil were depicted in dark red or blue.
Paintings can be seen on the monasteries wall as per the Buddhist rules.
Pahari Miniature Paintings :
Pahari Miniatures are considered to be one of the most finest and famous paintings found in Himachal Pradesh of India.
Behind The Paintings :
Schools have been developed here in the hilly regions during the 17th to 19th century which was ruled by Rajput Kings and other Chieftains who are still considered to be amongst the great lovers of art full maintaining ateliers. The land of Himachal Pradesh is full of artists. It also had painters from the Mughul Empire. The land of Himachal Pradesh is also enriched with the poet and painters. These paintings were then gradually spread in the region of Basohli, Chamba, Kangra, Guler, Kulla, Mandi and Bilaspur.
The Guler-Kangra Style :
This was the new style evolved in 18th Century of Pahari Paintings. They are followed in the Kangra Valley. They comprise more of the green pictures and are painted with more of Vegetation. The paintings are endowed with young women with exceptional beauty and grace by the artists. Beside these remarkable paintings, they also had colors extracted from minerals and vegetable that has enamel-like luster.
The themes are generally comprised of the lifestyle of the society existing at that moment. The most favorite topic of the painting was stories related and dedicated to Lord Krishna.
Themes of the Pahari Paintings consist of the lifestyles that depict the women beauty and grace. It also has God Krishna’s legend as many of the paintings were dedicated to him. The main reason of Pahari Painting being so famous was the presence of Vaishnava Cult which influenced the Hindi and Sanskrit poets.