Monday, 24 November 2014

Shimla-Jubbal Trek

1.Giri Ganga Temple, Khara Pathar, Himachal Pradesh
Shimla is an excellent starting point for trekking expeditions. Theog, a place about 32 Km from Shimla offers routes for Rampur Bushahr on the Hindustan Tibet Road and for Mussoorie via Dehra- Chopal- Chakrata and via Jubbal- Tiuni- Chakrata. It is advisable to follow the latter route as it is more conventional and popular. Excellent transport facilities and modern rest houses along the way have made this mountainous terrain more accessible and convenient.

2. Hatkoti Town
The route from Kothkhai to Jubbal is a trekker’s delight. One climbs from and altitude of 5270 feet to more than 9000 feet, crosses the Khara Pathar and then descends to Jubbal at a height of 6205 feet. The road distance from Khotkhai to Jubbal is 32 Km, but there is a 22 Km long mule track which goes by Darkoti. The route from Darkoti to Khara Pathar lies along a steep gradient. 

A backdrop of pine and deodar trees present a magnificient view set against the rice fields carved in myriad geometric forms. About 5 Km from Khara Pathar lies the source of river Giri Ganga which flows through the Khotkhai-  Gumma- Chaila valley before joining Satluj.

3. Photo of Jubbal Palace. This palace which was once the abode of the royal Jubbal family has been turned into a heritage place now 
Jubbal the seat of erstwhile Jubbal Kingdom is a beautiful hill town, boasting of all modern facilities. The royal palace with its exquisite wood carvings speaks greatly of its rich cultural heritage of the region. 

1. Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by Manoj Khurana
Image URL-
2. Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by Snjsharma
Image URL-
3. Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by Snjsharma
Image URL-

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Old houses - The Cultural heritage of Himachal

Old style home

Himachal Pradesh is economically not prosperous, but it has the privilege of preserving the rich cultural heritage of India. The honest, laborious and simple rural folk have their peculiar manners, exhilarating folk lore, exquisite folk dances, unique folk ways and enchanting folk songs. 

The sacred religious sanctuaries, simple unsophisticated arts and crafts, jubilant fairs and festivals impart rich color and texture to their culture. 

It is because of the reason that several historical races, cultures and religious faiths have found refuge in the lofty mountains of the world from time to time and the Himalayas are no exception. Whereas in the plains the elements of true Indian culture has been wiped put. The hills and vales of Himachal continue to preserve its heritage.

Photo Credit- John Hill
Omage URL- 

Kinnaur-The Typical Marriage Ceremonies

The Bride of Kinnaur
The district of Kinnaur is a part of the State of Himachal Pradesh in India. Set midst the mighty Himalayas, the rough and rugged terrain of Kinnaur has a beauty of its own. The beautiful valley of Baspa and the weird dale of Hangrang, offer endless sights and sounds of nature with enchanting mystery. The natural beauty feeds and evokes the adventurous and the aesthetic mind, whereas the devout people find pleasure in the pilgrimage to Kinner Kailash.

Four different types of marriages are solemnized in Kinnaur namely.
1. The Janetang or Janekang (Normal wedding)
2. The Dam Tangshis or the Bennabg Hachis (love marriage)
3. The Darosh or the Dab- Dab (Marriage by force)
4. The Har (Enticing away someones wife)

The marriages in Kinnaur as in many other places are more the contract marriages of convenience, than the result of preference based on mutual love, esteem and affection. 

The elders propose and conclude the bargain. The marriage here is called Rejha. In this type of marriage the engagement takes place, when the boy and the girl are still of tender age. The engagement ceremony is performed by offering of Khatak (a piece of cloth), a bottle of liquor and other presents.

On the attainment of marriageable age, the father of bridegroom and other relatives go to the house of the bride and settle the day for the marriage, and the Rinchot (the amount to be paid to the family of bride) too. Rinchot may vary from fifty to one thousand rupees, according to the resources of the family of the groom.

The Rinchot is to be paid before the marriage as the money is supposed to be spent for the purchase of ornaments etc for the bride. The expenditure is taken into account and is refunded if the wife leaves her husband.

However the most unique form of marriage is Darosh and Har. In the former the wife is waylaid and kidnapped by the would be spouse. This happens with or without the consent of her parents. Sometimes an intimacy may develop between a boy and a girl and when the boy finds that the parents of the girl do not agree to their union, he abducts her. With the help of his friends he may carry her to his house. It is expected from the girl to struggle and make sincere efforts to escape, and if she succeeds she can be proud of it.

In Darosh, it is necessary to maintain that the first man to claim the girl is the one who gets to marry her. This is essential from the point of view of the parents of the girl, who at times may have objections about the would be groom, but not his family. The parents of the bride may insist that they would send their daughter, provided a particular boy of the family marries her.
The Bride of Kinnaur wearing traditional ornaments and dress

These kinds of marriages are quite common especially among the lower classes, who want to marry their daughters into the wealthy families.

Har is a Sanskrit word meaning to take away. It is an another form of an interesting and famous form of marriage. The Har form of marriage in Kinnaur occurs, when a married women falls in love with another man and decides to marry him. She leaves the house of her husband and simply goes with her lover. The lover or her future husband and her father has to return the Rinchot money to her former husband and has to pay an additional amount on account of Izzat or respect. The acceptance of the amount by the former husband sets the women free and the previous marriage is deemed to have become annulled.

However a gradual change is being seen in customs and traditions, and some of the above mentioned social customs may disappear one day.

Photo Credit-
Image URL-