Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Garhwal

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Centre for Folk Performing Arts and Culture


Centre for Folk Performing Arts and Culture

Centre for Folk Performing Arts and Culture was sanctioned in 2006 by the Govt. of Uttarakhand with the focal theme of preserving and restoring the performing arts and culture of Uttarakhand.

First of its kind in Uttarakhand, Centre counts the following among its chief objectives:

1. Preservation of Himalayan culture and heritage.
2. Experimentation in folk art expression.
3. Restoration of traditional genres.
4. Propagation and projection of the cultural heritage of Uttarakhand.
5. Revival of interest in regional art and culture.
6. Generation of employment in art and cultural sector.

In ancient times Uttarakhand consisted of the people and culture of the three border districts of Uttarkashi, Chamoli, and Pithoragarh. Over the centuries the spread of population and the influence of the culture enlarged the region to form and cover the entire hill region of Uttarakand comprising Garhwal and Kumaun divisions, respectively known as Kedarkhand and Manaskhand in Skand Purana.

Though the administrative boundaries display thirteen districts, the actual cultural segregation is not confined or limited to district boundaries. In fact there exists a mess-work of distinct sub-cultures hemmed in by geographical features, often cutting across district boundaries inspired by cultural commonality. A number of such units have been identified and are referred to as culture-valleys.

Certain cultural features which happen to be on higher rung become common and continuing features of the culture of the entire Uttarakhand. The main four shrines and their worship is one example, the Nanda Raj-Jat in which people from the entire region participate is another.

The fact of cultural features becoming more circumscribed, distinct and unique can be seen from the example of a particular culture-valley. The features become more pronounced when a cultural study is made at the village level which is on the lowest rung of the ladder of cultural commonality and peculiarity.

So far no systematic study has been made of what is peculiar among the cultural components of and the various sub-cultures, each having its own signature. It is generally accepted that different aspects that constitute culture are the oral traditions, the folk performances both ritual and secular; traditional medicine, handicrafts and crafts; folk dance-drama, music, processional performances; environmental performances (Pandawa etc.), fairs, festivals, esoteric ritual, and magic, temples and housing architecture, customs and mores, jewelry and food habits, sayings and proverbs, folk environmental concerns, various dialects; myths and legends; folk sports, folk games and folk paintings to list a few.

It is important to mention that while much of these traditions persist, much more is waning and may soon disappear. Therefore establishing a guardian institution to study, document, preserve and propagate the cultural facets of Uttarakhand is the need of the hour.

Center for Folk Performing Arts and Culture serves as an answer to this need, with an elementary focus on studying and conserving the age-old cultural traditions by proper documentation, and training the next generations to carry on the heritage.

Centre for Folk Performing Arts and Culture
H.N.B.Garhwal University
Srinagar – Dist.Pauri Garhwal
(Uttarakhand) India – 246174


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