Cultural Mapping of the Kannauras of Himachal Pradesh

Known as the ‘Land of Gods’, Kinnaur  is located in the North Eastern part of Himachal Pradesh, on the ancient trade route between India and Tibet. The people of Kinnaur speak the Kinnauri language, which belongs to the Tibetan-Burmese dialect. The Kannauras find mention in the epic Mahabharata, as beings that are half man and half horse. According to the epic, the Kannaura kingdom refers to the territory of a tribe called Kinnaras, who were one of the exotic tribes inhabiting the Himalayan Mountains. The primary occupation of the people of the community is farming and every family of the region owns a piece of land.

Due to the cold climate of the area, people wear woollen clothes throughout the year. The Thepang is a green coloured cap which is a common head dress for both male and female. The traditional dress of men is Chuba and Sutan, a long woollen coat and a woollen pyjama respectively. The women wear Doru (a woollen saree), Tomoksh (green colour jacket) and Topru Challi (shawl). The Kannaura women are very fond of silver jewellery. Traditional pieces of jewellery are worn mainly during the family occasions and on religious ceremonies in the village. Some of the traditional jewellery pieces are called Tramoli (Three gold beads necklace), Tanoli (silver ornament to cover the forehead), Kata (earrings), Balu (nose ring) and many more.Traditional songs are sung by the people on every occasion and during the social gatherings. The elderly people mention that the lyrics of the folk songs speak about the legends of the local gods and goddesses. The instruments are collectively owned by the villagers and are stored in the temples. Ronshik, Kansal, Nagada, Dhol, Kannal and shehnai are some of the instruments played by the people.


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