Best and beautiful traditions of Uttarakhand which can rule the world

Peoples are becoming more generous about their likes and dislikes. Whether it is the food or festival or attire, peoples are adopting them if they find interesting and enjoyable.

In today’s world, every country or region or culture has adopted something from other country or region or culture. For example, Indians has adopted a lot from western culture and in the same way, western countries has adopted Indian culture and this adoption is not limited to food, festival and fashion but  much more than these .

I am listing some wonderful things which are part of the tradition of Kumaon and Garhwal region of Uttrakhand and can be loved and adopted by other culture or regions.

1- Pichhoda ( पिछोड़ा ) – A traditional wear of Kumaon region

Pichhoda ( पिछोड़ा ) – a traditional wear of Kumaon region

This is the fabulous and beautiful attire of Kumauni region to wear on special and auspicious occasions. 
It is a symbol of the prosperity of a married woman and is usually worn on marriage, naming ceremony (नामकरण) and other auspicious and religious occasions. The importance of this attire can be understood by the fact that no auspicious occasions is considered complete without this.

A woman wearing Pichhoda ( पिछोड़ा )  in a marriage

Pichhoda ( पिछोड़ा ) is a dark yellow coloured garment with big red spots on it. A swastika (स्वास्तिक ) symbol is made in the centre of this garment and Sun, moon,  bell and conch are made at the corners.  In earlier days, handmade colours were used to make this apparel. Yellow color was made by turmeric or grinding the root of Kilomode (wild fruit) plant and red colour by mixing lemon juice into raw turmeric and then kept it in a copper vessel for long time. Pichhoda ( पिछोड़ा ) is approximately 3 meters long and 1.25 meter wide. 

Pichhoda worn in upper part of the body over saree from head to shoulders and then comes up to waist. It is worn by the festival organiser and the closed relatives of the organiser. In a marriage , pichhoda is worn by the mother of the bride or groom and other ladies who are in their close relation so that it gives them a unique, beautiful and gorgeous look , importance and identity which keeps  them in the focus of this special event.

Though, Pichhoda ( पिछोड़ा ) is the traditional wear of Kumaon region but due to its significance and attraction now it is gaining popularity in the Garhwal and other regions of uttarakhand and being adopted as an apparel to wear on special occasions.

Below are the reasons why I am anticipating its huge adoption by other culture or regions.

  1. It’s an special wear on auspicious occasions 
  2. Its color and symbols are best for Hindu religion and in Hindu religion it’s a holy ( पवित्र ) thing to wear on. 
  3. Since this is not a garment to wear by everyone but worn by special ones so it gives you an unique identity which keeps you above everyone and gives you a special status so to wear it is a matter of proud.
  4. It is easy to wear. It is just like a stole which is worn over sari or other dress. Just put on over head and spread downwards through shoulders to waist. 
  5. Women loves it. The dressing and clothing is all about fashion. Pichhoda ( पिछोड़ा ) gives a fabulous and beautiful look to woman which is the actual reason of adopting this garment.

2- Harela ( हरेला ) – A festival of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand

Every culture has its own way to enjoy and festivals are the medium to enjoy with everyone. Festivals are not only to enjoy and spread the happiness but they are the messengers of different kind of direct and indirect messages.
Harela ( हरेला ) is related to the earth and its environment. However the festival is directly not celebrated with the message to protect the earth and its environment but its indirect and clear message is about the earth.

 Harela ( हरेला )

How Harela ( हरेला ) is celebrated

This festival is celebrated by the Hindu religion people of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. This festival is celebrated on the first day of Shravan (श्रावण ) month (end of July). There is a belief that on this day, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were married.

A pot is made (or taken) with either clay or leaves (long and wide leaves are used which are also used to make plates for serving the food). In this pot, after putting the soil, 5 or 7 types of seeds of grains are sown and this activity is done just before the 9 days of the celebration day by the head of the family. This pot is kept inside the home so that it cannot see the sunlight. Daily morning, water is sprinkled on the sown grain seeds. After couple of days the little plants of the grains comes out of the soil and on the 10th day (celebration day), the plants with their leaves are big enough (approximately 5 to 6 inch in height) to celebrate. Since the grains were out of the sun reach so these little plants and leaves are of yellow coloured.

On the celebration day, these yellow coloured little grain plant are kept in the Mandir (मंदिर  ,temple ) and are worshiped . After the worship, the plants are cut and put on the heads and behind the ears of each family member as a blessing of gods. Various types of sweet and other traditional dishes are made and enjoyed.

Harela festival however is celebrated by everyone but the Harela plant is not planted by everyone. In some region , Harela is planted by the Pandit (पंडित ,a person who helps to performs the religious ritual ) and on the day of celebration he goes to the home of each family to distribute the Harela (plant with the pot in which it has grown) .

Harela ( हरेला )  grown in bulk for distribution

Harela festival has many messages and it can be understood when you hold the Harela pot in your hands. A small world with plenty of foods, greenery, fertile soil, clean environment and a lots of hopes and imagination of better future, all can be seen in this little pot.
This is the way to thanking the earth for everything what we are getting from it.  

The below are the reasons for the adoption of this great festival.

  1. Peoples are now getting aware about the earth and its educated person knows very well the importance of plantation and this is the only way to protect our environment.
  2. It is above the cast, religion and region. The benefit is for all.
  3. It’s a feeling good factor. You grow grains in your home and after some days you see the seeds are converted in lovely and cute small plants with eye catching colors.
  4. It’s a necessary activity to imagine a better future and act accordingly in the interest of our future.
  5. I do not expect or imagine that when Harela will be adopted by other regions or cultures then it will be celebrated as it is being celebrated by the Kumauni will be celebrated in a different form but the theme of celebration will be the same to thank the earth.

3- Kafuli (काफुली) or Kafa (काफा), Bhat ke Dubuke (भट  के  डुबुक) and Raita (रायता) – Traditional food of Uttarakhand

Kafuli (काफुली) or Kafa (काफा) is enjoyed in both Kumaon and Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand but Garhwal regions is more famous for this dish. Here we are talking about Garhwali Kafuli.This delicious food is made of spinach and fenugreek leaves.This is the best food for health conscious peoples. It is cooked in iron wok (कड़ाही) and taken with rice. The awesome taste of  Kafuli (काफुली) or Kafa (काफा) can not be forgotten and whoever has tested this incredible dish , has been a fan of this dish.

Bhat ke Dubuke (भट  के  डुबुक) is another delicious and mouth-watering dish. Believe me, taste it once and you will be a witness of this divine food. Bhat is a black color lentils and very the hilly regions, Bhat (भट) is used in many ways to eat. Bhat ke Dubuke (भट  के  डुबुक) can change your perception towards the dal(दाल ) .Yes it is a type of dal (दाल  ) and made after grinding and making paste of the seeds of Bhat. Winter season is best to enjoy this delicious Dal (दाल ) because it is hot in nature.

Bhat (भट ) seedsBhat ke Dubuke (भट  के  डुबुक)

Raita (रायता) is enjoyed in almost all parts of India but we are talking here about the Kumauni Raita. This unique raita is made of cucumber, curd and turmeric. However Raita is not a complete food itself and served as a side dish but the importance of this side dish can be understood from the fact that no meal is complete without this.

Many types of raita is available in almost all parts of India but the unique style of preparation and divine taste puts it above all.

The below are some reasons why these dishes will be loved and adopted by other regions or cultures.

  1. Food is all about taste and these dishes are divine in taste.
  2. Health is as important as taste. These dishes are nutritious and can be taken by in all health conditions. If you are suffering from health issues like diabetes or any other diseases for which doctor has prescribed for prohibition of some foods then these dishes are best and can be consumed without any worry. In fact, dietitian or physician suggests these foods to improve health condition.
  3. These dishes are prepared with the vegetables which are easily available at nearby places and the spices used are found in every kitchen so no special ingredient required to cook these dishes.
  4. These dishes are pure vegetarian.
  5. Everyone who have eaten these dishes once, have loved and adopted.

if you know about something interesting in Kumaon and Garhwal region which can be loved by other culture or regions then write in the below comment section.

If you agree or disagree with the above choices then write in the below comment sections.

Authored By Pankaj Lakhchaura

Images used are taken from


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