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Himachal Pradesh was one of the few states that had remained largely untouched by external customs, largely due to its difficult terrain. With the technological advancements the state has changed very rapidly.

Himachal Pradesh is a multireligional, multicultural as well as multilingual state like other Indian states. Some of the most commonly spoken languages includes Hindi, Punjabi, Pahari, Dogri, Mandeali, Kangri and Kinnauri.The Hindu communities residing in Himachal include the Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. There are also tribal population in the state which mainly comprise Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis.

Himachal is well known for its handicrafts. The carpets, leather works, shawls, paintings, metalware, woodwork and paintings are worth appreciating. Pashmina shawl is one of the product which is highly in demand not only in Himachal but all over the country. Himachali caps are also famous art work of the people.

Local music and dance reflects the cultural identity of the state. Through their dance and music, they entreat their gods during local festivals and other special occasions.

Apart from the fairs and festivals that are celebrated all over India, there are number of other fairs and festivals also that are of great significance to Himachal Pradesh.

The day to day food of Himachalis is very similar to the rest of the north India. They too have lentil, broth, rice, vegetables and bread. As compared to other states in north India non-vegetarian cuisine is more preferred. Some of the specialities of Himachal include Pateer, Chouck, Bhagjery and chutney of Til.


Around 96% of the population of the state is of Hindus. The major communities includes Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. The tribal population comprises the Gaddis, Kinnars, gadoun,(jadoun) Tanolis. Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis. The Gaddis are the shepherds who migrate from the alpine pasture regions to the lower regions during the cold winter season. The Kinnars are the inhabitants of Kinnaur and they generally practice polyandry and polygamy. The Gujjars are nomadic people who rear buffalo herds. The Lahaulis of Lahaul and Spiti region mainly comprises Buddhists.

People & Lifestyle

Himachal Pradesh is a multireligional, multicultural as well as multilingual state like other Indian states. The Hindu communities residing in Himachal include the Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis.There are also tribal population in the state which mainly comprise Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis. In some areas, like Lahaul and Spiti, there is a majority of Buddhist population since the area is located near Tibet. A percentage of people are also Tibetans. Muslim, Christian and Sikhs are in minority but they also enjoy the same rights as Hindus.

Though hindi is the state language, many people speak Pahari also. Pahari itself has many dialects and all of them trace their origin to the Sanskrit language- also known as origin of all languages. A majority of the population is engaged in agricultural practices, however the more educated of them are now moving towards tertiary sectors. As per the traditional dressing norms the dress of the Brahmin male includes dhoti, kurta, coat, waistcoat, turban and a hand towel while that of the Rajput male consists of tight fitting churidar pyjamas, a long coat and a starched turban. With the changing time the dress up of the people has now become a mixed one. Though the above mentioned style is now hardly followed, people have started wearing western style of clothes.

The typical house is constructed of clay bricks and the roofs are of slate. In some areas the slate roof is also replaced by timber.

Arts and crafts

The handicraft that comes out of this state and is worth appreciating are the carpets, leather works, shawls, paintings, metalware, woodwork and paintings. Pashmina shawl is the product which is highly in demand not only in Himachal but all over the country. Colourful Himachali caps are also famous art work of the people. A tribe namely Dom is expert in manufacturing bamboo items like boxes, sofas, chairs, baskets and rack. Metalware of the state include utensils, ritualistic vessels, idols, gold and silver jewelleries.

Weaving, carving, painting, or chiselling is considered to be the part of the life of Himachalis. Himachal is well known for designing shawls especially in Kullu. The architecture, objects, shops, museums, galleries and craftsmen charm with the variety perfected through time.Thapada is a large embroidered shawl, which is a specialty of the handicraft of Himachal Pradesh. Other items of craft include the Kohana, a kind of a wall hanging, pillow covers, blouses and caps adorned with fine embroidery. The embroidered caps of the Kulu, Sirmair, Kinnaur and Lahaul regions are also very famous. The shawls from Kulu, woolen rugs and carpets from Lahaul, depicting the traditional Pahadi designs.
Beautiful patchwork quilts, rag dolls and elephants are also made in the area and comprise a necessary parts of bride's trousseau. The wool products are made in either the Byangi wool. Dyeing and printing of fabrics has been a traditional craft in the area. The Farahada and the Chhiba people do this work traditionally. Weaving of wool is a major cottage industry in itself. The highlanders of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur weave dresses from it for special occasions such as festivals and weddings.

The Dom tribe is well known for producing fine household articles made of bamboo. They are later painted in bright colors. They manufacture boxes, sofas, chairs, baskets, racks and several articles used in daily life. Leather craft is extremely developed and the slippers and shoes made in Chamba are in large demand. The Himachalis are adept at the art of making pots and statuettes with clay in many shapes and sizes. These include pitchers, bowls, platters, cups, lamps and small and large pots. These are decorated with white patterns drawn with Golu clay. Toys and figures of gods and goddesses are made during festivals. The metal ware of Himachal Pradesh includes attractive utensils, ritualistic vessels, idols and silver jewellery. The local goldsmiths also craft fine gold ornaments. The jewellery by the woman of Kulu, Sirmaur, Kinnaur, Pangwati and Bharmor region is very attractive.

Women take an active part in pottery and men in carpentry. For ages, wood is used in Himachal in the construction of temples, homes, idols etc.

Music and dance

Music and dance of Himachal Pradesh reflects its cultural identity. Through their dance and music, they entreat their gods during local festivals and other special occasions. There are also dances that are specific to certain regions of the state.

Some of the dance forms of Himachal are Losar Shona Chuksam(Kinnaur), Dangi (Chamba), Gee Dance and Burah dance, (Sirmour), Naati, Kharait, Ujagjama and Chadhgebrikar (Kullu) and Shunto (Lahaul & Spiti).

People of the state generally prefer folk music. There is no classical form of music, as for the Himachal Pradesh is concerned. Himachali dance forms are highly varied and quite complicated. These dances are very vital part of the tribal life. It reflects the culture and the tradition of Himachal Pradesh. Hardly any festivity here is celebrated without dancing. Some of the dance forms like Dulshol, Dharveshi, Drodi, Dev Naritya, Rakshas Nritya, Dangi, Lasa, Nati and Nagas are danced all over the region.

Fairs and Festivals

Fairs and festivals are an integral part of the Indian way of life. The colorful state of Himachal Pradesh has many fairs and festivals to celebrate throughout the year. The National Snow Statue Competition at Kufri near Shimla begins in the New Year. The ice-skating in Shimla begins around this time. The bonfires of Lohri, a festival to mark the sowing of the Rabi crop light up the night sky on January 13 every year. The skiing competitions are held at Solang Nullah in Manali in the month of February. A fair in the memory of the sage Baba Barbhag Singh is held at around the same time at Una. It is believed that the Baba had magical powers, which were used towards altruistic ends. The little kites dapple the horizon with their color during the Basant Panchami, the arrival of the spring.

Shivratri or the festival to celebrate the marriage of Shiva in March signifies ritual gaiety at the famous Baijnath shrine. The cattle fair is held at Nalwari in Bilaspur. Chait Durga Asthami is celebrated in the Shakti shrines at Hathkoti, Chitpurni, Jwalamukhi and Vajreshwari. Color and fun mix on Holi, the festival of colors at the Gurudwara at Paonta Sahib in Sirmaur. In April, Chhat celebrations are held in Kullu and Chamba. Paonta Sahib welcomes Hindu and Sikh devotees on Baisakhi. The Navratri begins this month. Fairs are held in Chamba, Bilaspur, Kangra and Rohru village in Shimla district.

A colorful celebration takes place around the old temple of Hidimba at Kullu, Doongri in May. Banjar Mela in Kullu also starts in the second half of the month. Paragliding season begin in Bir in Kangra. A variety of cultural events are held at Shimla, Dharamshala and Dalhousie during the month of June. The Prashar Fair is held in Mandi off the Prashar Lake. The Red Cross Fair in Shimla is a big draw with the tourists. The Himachal Folk Costumes Programme and the Flower Show in Shimla attracts active participation of the locals. Lahaul celebrates a unique festival called Cheeshu.

Haryali is celebrated in Kangra and Sirmaur and Shravan Sankranti in Nahan in the month of July. Buffalo fights are the highlight of the Sari fair held at Arki in the month of August. The Lahaul Festival is held near Keylong. Kaza's Ladarcha Fair is a commercial fair held on the old trade routes to Tibet and Afghanistan. The Manimahesh Yatra starts in the district of Chamba. The famous fair of Naina Devi in Bilaspur also takes place during August.

In the first week of September, Fullaich (Phulech) take place in Kinnaur while Kangra plays host to Sair. Chamba is the DIRECTIONS for the colorful fair of Rath-Rathni. Dussehra is one of the most sacred festivals of the Hindu religion and is celebrated in October. The much talked about Dussehra celebrations start in Kullu with Navratri. The Pong Dam is the site of water sports championship held in the same month.

Diwali is celebrated throughout the state. On the banks of Sutlej, the Lavi fair is celebrated for three days. At Sirmaur, idols of Parasuram are immersed in the waters of Renuka Lake. Shimla has the tradition of celebrating Christmas since the days of the British Rule. To take part in the festivities, people come from far off places. The International Himalayan festival is held in Dharamshala in the second week of December. Attire

Cuisine - Himachal Pradesh Sari is the most common garment that Himachali women wear nowadays. Traditional dresses comprises of Kameez, Kurta and Salwar in distinctive Himachali style. The Gaddi women wear the long knee length gown known as Juan chadiyan and their Chola, a white woolen garment. They wear a coat or waistcoat during winters. One can also see flap caps made of wool during winters. Woolen shirts with long coats and sleeveless woolen jackets on the top of the coat are the most preferred dress for men. These days men can be seen in shirts and trousers along with denims.

Apart from the fairs and festivals that are celebrated all over India, there are number of other fairs and festivals also that are at the high point of Himachal Pradesh. These festivals are the time for the Himachalis to adorn colourful dress and accessories and get mixed up with the rest of their kins. Some of these fairs and festivals are the Kullu Dussehra, Shivratri Fair (Mandi), Shoolini Mela (Solan), Minjar Fair (Chamba), Mani Mahesh Chhari Yatra (Chamba), Renuka fair (Sirmaur), Lavi Trade Fair (Rampur), Vrajeshwari fair (Kangra), Jwalamukhi Fair (Jwalamukhi), Holi Fair (Sujanpur), and Naina Devi Fair (Bilaspur),Fulaich {Kinnaur valley}


Inhabited largely by semi-nomadic tribes like the Gaddis, Gujjars, Kinnars, Lahaulis and Pangwals, the land has been influenced by many cross-cultural streams that developed distinct identities in each region of Himachal Pradesh. In 1959, when the Tibetan spiritual head Dalai Lama fled Lhasa after Chinese occupation, he set up his official residence in Dharamshala, northern Himachal Pradesh. Ever since, there has been a regular stream of refugee's crossing over into India. A large Tibetan settlement, complete with schools, hostels, health centre and Buddhist shrines have grown around the Dalai Lama's palace.

Himachalis are a very warm and friendly people and it is easy to strike up friendship with villagers in any roadside hamlet. Tribal folks follow a form of religion in which distinctions of caste and class are less rigid. Women are extremely hardworking, taking care of daily chores in the house as well as toiling in the fields.

Most people speak a smattering of Hindi sprinkled liberally with English, words which they obviously picked up from the 'phoren' (read foreign in an Indian accent) tourists. Otherwise the language of the people is Pahari.


Himachal Pradesh has a majority of Hindus, though the northern parts bordering Tibet have a strong Buddhist influence. The people of Lahaul-Spiti practice Tibetan Buddhism, while tribals in Kinnaur follow a mixture of Hinduism and Buddhism. There is also a small minority of Sikhs, Muslims and Christians in various parts of the state.


Cuisine in Himachal Pradesh is not 'oh so spicy'. Simple, tasty and nutritious the basic ingredients are rice, lentils, mutton and chicken. Great hosts, these people just stuff you up and make you drink gallons of wine, be it local made or otherwise. The food is cooked in mustard oil or clarified butter. The Himachali drinks tea by the litre and never says no to the extra 'cuppa' that comes along when visiting someone.

Culture and Crafts

Himachal Pradesh has a rich tradition of folk music and dances that mark all festive occasions. The folklore is replete with themes of valour and legendary love stories. The famous 'Natti' dance of Kullu is performed mainly by men wearing short tunics and churidars (a tight legwear) and the embroidered Kullu caps. Martial dances like the 'Burah' in Sirmaur and Birsue and 'Ghugti' in upper Shimla are performed with the waving of axes and swords. Beautiful Kinnauri women dressed in traditional costumes with chunky silver jewellery perform the 'Bakayang' dance. Masked dances recounting romantic and satirical themes are performed in the Jubbal and Rohru valleys of Shimla.

Throughout the year, Himachalis regale in celebration with dance and music to mark fairs and festivals. The Buddhist gompas or monasteries have their famous mask dances, performed by the lamas. The Lossor festival is celebrated with the 'chhaam' dance to celebrate the death of the oppressive 9th century Tibetan ruler Langdarma. Performed in elaborate costumes and masks, the dance marks the triumph of good over evil.

In autumn, 'Fullaich' or the Festival of flowers is celebrated in the villages of Kinnaur. Villagers collect wild flowers and make offerings to the local deity. Every twelve years, there are special celebrations, which are marked with singing, dancing, and merrymaking. The Dussehra celebrations of Kullu in October are a curious amalgamation of tribal and Hindu religious beliefs. Over two hundred local deities are brought into the valley on palanquins and Lord Raghunath is worshipped to the accompaniment of music and dance. The Dussehra festival, commemorating the victory of Lord Rama (an incarnation of Vishnu) over the demon king Ravana, is celebrated throughout the country, but has a special flavour here in Kullu.

The 'Lavi' fair at Rampur on the India -Tibet road, is a centuries-old gathering of traders from Ladakh, Tibet and Afghanistan. This ancient trade route was a lifeline for the local people, who traded in wool, dry fruits and horses. Though the entire area has opened up to the rest of the country with improved communication links, this traditional fair still holds a relevance and importance in the lives of the locals.

Aapo Aap Shimla Homestay : Shimla homestays, Himachal homestays, Shimla B&B, Shimla bnb, Shimla bed and breakfast
On Spiritual parameters, Aapo Aap gives you total energy of facing the rising sun. In its south west, there is spiritual protection of Maa Tara Devi. The terrace, on which the meditation room is located, has beautiful unobstructed view which is ideally suited for Sadhna. The mediation room with its tapering conical roof lined with wood and having big glass windows on all sides makes it an ideal place for merging individual consciousness in Cosmic Consciousness.

"Aapo Aap" literally means "On Its Own" (Swatah-in Hindi). This name has been inspired by our Guruji's place known as "Dera Aapo Aap" ("Dera" means "Living Abode")

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