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HISTORY OF KUMAON
Kumaon is one of the administrative divisions of Uttaranchal, India. It includes the districts of Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh, and Udham Singh Nagar. It is bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by Nepal, on the south by the state of Uttar Pradesh, and on the west by the Garhwal region.
The people of Kumaon are known as Kumaonis. Important towns of Kumaon are Haldwani, Nainital, Rudrapur, Almora, Pithoragarh, Mukteshwar and Ranikhet. Nainital is the administrative centre of Kumaon Division.
Kumaon Hills have their headquarters at Nainital. Kumaon region constituted an old Rajput principality, which became extinct at the beginning of the 19th century. For some time region was ruled by Gorkhas. But People of Kumaon fought them bravely and with the help from British, threw them out. Later, the region was annexed by the British in 1815, and was governed for seventy years on the non-regulation system by three administrators, Mr. Traill, Mr J. H. Batten and Sir Henry Ramsay. In 1891 the division was composed of the three districts of Kumaon, Garhwal and the Tarai; but the two districts of Kumaon and the Tarai were subsequently redistributed and renamed after their headquarters, Nainital and Almora.
The earliest historical references to the region are found in the Vedas. Specific mention of the mountains exists in the Mahabharata, dated to about 1000 BC, when the protagonists of the epic, the Pandavas, are said to have ended their life on earth by ascending the slopes of a peak in Western Garhwal called Swargarohini - literally, the 'Ascent to Heaven'.
The Kumaonis have singular faith in the presiding deity of Kumaon - Nanda Devi, the Goddess of Bliss. The graceful peak of Nanda Devi , is visible from almost everywhere in Kumaon. Nanda Devi who is said to be the reincarnation of Parvati is said to represent the icy, unmoving form of Parvati in endless anticipation of her desired consort, Lord Shiva.
The word Kumaon can be traced back to the 5th century BC. The Kassite Assyrians left their homeland 'Kummah', on the banks of river Euphrates,and settled in the northern part of India. These inhabitants formed Koliyan tribe and having their new settlement as 'Kumaon'. Lord Buddha's mother, Mayabati belonged to this clan. Another version of the origin is that word Kumaon is believed to have been derived from "Kurmanchal", meaning land of the Kurmavatar (the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver according to Hindu mythology). The region of Kumaon is named after as such. Evidences of Stone Age settlements have been found in Kumaon, particularly the rock shelter at Lakhu Udyar. The paintings here date back to the Mesolithic period.
The early medieval history of Kumaon is the history of the Katyuri dynasty. The Katyuri kings ruled from the seventh to the 11th century, holding sway at the peak of their powers over large areas of Kumaon, Garhwal, and Western Nepal. The town of Baijnath near Almora was the capital of this dynasty and a center of the arts. Temple building flourished under the Katyuris and the main architectural innovation introduced by them was the replacement of bricks with hewn stone.
On a hilltop facing east (opposite Almora), is the temple of Katarmal. This 900-year-old sun temple was built during the declining years of the Katyuri dynasty. The intricately carved doors and panels have been removed to the National Museum in Delhi as a protective measure after the 10th-century idol of the presiding deity was stolen.
The Chands of Pithoragarh were the dominant dynasty which later ruled Kumaon . The magnificent old temple complex at Jageshwar, with its cluster of a hundred and sixty-four temples, was built by the Chand rulers over a period of two centuries. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The local dialects spoken by the people of Kumaon is termed as Kumaoni. The dialect however changes from district to district. According to ethnolinguists Kumaoni language has been given the code ISO 639-3:kfy.
|The details are as follows:-|
|Region||Uttaranchal, Almora, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Champawat, Udhamsingh Nagar districts; Assam; Bihar; Delhi; Madhya Pradesh; Maharashtra; Nagaland. Central Kumauni is in Almora and northern Nainital, Northeastern Kumauni is in Pithoragarh, Southeastern Kumauni is in Southeastern Nainital, Western Kumauni is west of Almora and Nainital. Also spoken in Nepal.|
|Alternatenames||Kamaoni, Kumaoni, Kumau, Kumawani, Kumgoni, Kumman, Kunayaoni|
|Dialects||Central Kumauni, Northeastern Kumauni, Southeastern Kumauni, Western Kumauni. People report the eastern dialects to be different. Names sometimes listed for dialects or subgroups are: Askoti, Bhabari of Rampur, Chaugarkhiya, Danpuriya, Gangola, Johari, Khasparjiya, Kumaiya Pachhai, Pashchimi, Phaldakotiya, Kumaoni, Rau-Chaubhaisi, Sirali, Soriyali. Most closely related to Garwhali and Nepali.|
|Classification||Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northern zone, Central Pahari|
The inhabitants of the Kumaon hills are commonly known as the Kumaoni. The social structure is based on the extended family system, the eldest male member being the head of the family. Women are respected in society but they usually confine themselves to household activities. No religious ceremony is considered complete without the wife joining the husband. Women also work in the fields and forests alongside the men.
Kumaonis are fond of music, folk dance, and songs accompanied by local musical instruments like murli, bina, and hurka. The hurka is played by the “jurkiya” and the dancer accompanying him, known as “hurkiyari,” is usually his wife or daughter. They go from place to place narrating folklores, singing the praise of their gods and goddesses. During fairs and festivals and at harvest time, they often dance the Jharva, Chandhur Chhapalior, and many other forms of folk dances. The popular folk songs are Malushahi, Bair, and Hurkiya Bol.
The culture of the present Kumaon is a blend of influences from the indigenous population as well as from the immigrants to this region. Consequently, the myths, dialects, languages, folk literature, festivals, fairs and forms of artistic expression are examples of the creative influences of the different cultural groups that constitute Kumaon.
Every peak, lake or mountain range is somehow or the other connected with some myth or the name of a God or Goddess, ranging from those associated with the Shaiva, Shakta and Vaishnava traditions, to local Gods like Ham, Saim, Golla, Chhurmal, Kail Bisht, Bholanath, Gangnath, Airy and Chaumu. Temples are dedicated to the nine famous Goddesses, other local Goddesses, Bhairava, Surya:. and Ganesh. The temples at Jageshwar, Bageshwar, Binsar, Thalkedar, Rameshwar, Pancheshwar, Baijnath and Gananath are devoted to Lord Shiva. The temples of Devidhura, Gangolihat, Pumagiri, Almora, Nainital, Kot Ki Mai and Kotgari Devi are associated with the Shakt tradition, while the region of Lohaghat - Champawat (Mount Kandeo) is associated with Kunna Avatar. This region also has two famous Sun temples.
The uniqueness of the Kumaoni Holi lies in its being a musical affair, whichever may be its form, be it the Baithki Holi, the Khari Holi or the Mahila Holi. The Baithki Holi and Khari Holi are unique in that the songs on which they are based have touch of melody, fun and spiritualism. These songs are essentially based on classical ragas. No wonder then the Baithki Holi is also known as Nirvan Ki Holi.
The Baithki Holi begins from the premises of temples, where Holiyars (the professional singers of Holi songs) as also the people gather to sing songs to the accompaniment of classical music.Kumaonis are very particular about the time when the songs based on ragas should be sung. For instance, at noon the songs based on Peelu, Bhimpalasi and Sarang ragas are sung while evening is reserved for the songs based on the ragas like Kalyan, Shyamkalyan and Yaman etc. The Khari Holi is mostly celebrated in the rural areas of Kumaon. The songs of the Khari Holi are sung by the people, who sporting traditional white churidar payajama and kurta, dance in groups to the tune of ethnic musical instruments.
Harela and Bhitauli
On the first day of the navaratris (nine day holy period) of the month of Chaitra women fill baskets with soil and sow seven types of grains in them. The grains germinate symbolizing the future harvest. These yellow leaves, called Harela, are cut on the tenth day and people put them on their heads and behind their ears. During the month of Chaitra (March-April) brothers send presents to their sisters and parents to their daughters. These presents are called Bhitauli.
However, the more popular Harela is the one that is celebrated in the month of Shravan to commemorate the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati and to welcome the rainy season and the new harvest. On this day people make Dikaras or clay statues of Gauri, Maheshwar, Ganesh etc. and worship them. Even the overworked bullocks are given a rest on the occasion of Harela. People put the blades of freshly cut Harela on their heads and send them to their relatives and friends as well.
This festival is celebrated on the Krishna amavasya (last day of the dark half of the month) of Jyestha and on the day married women worship Savitri and the Bat or banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) and pray for the well being of their spouses. Women observe fast in honour of Savitri and Satyavan and remember how Savitri through her intense devotion saved her husband from the claws of death.
The people of Kumaon celebrate Raksha Bandhan and Janopunyu, the day on which people change their janeu (sacred thread). On this day the famous Bagwal fair is held at Devidhura in district Champawat.
Ganga Dusshera or Dasar
Ganga Dusshera is celebrated on the Shukla dasami of the Jyestha (May - June). The sacred Ganga is worshipped on this day and Dusshera posters (dwarpatras or dasars), which have various geometric designs on them, are put up on the doors of houses and temples. These posters, once hand written by brahmins, are now printed. On this day people bathe in the holy rivers.
The festival of Basant Panchami celebrates the coming of the spring season. This festival, which also signals the end of winter, is generally celebrated during Magh (January - February). During this festival people worship the Goddess Saraswati, use yellow handkerchiefs or even yellow cloths and in a few places people put a yellow tilak on their foreheads. This festival also marks the beginning of holi baithaks.
A key factor going in Uttaranchal’s favour in attracting services and industrial investments is its significantly high level of literacy.The overall rate of literacy in the state is 72.3 per cent. This endows it with large pool of educated labour that industry can draw from. Importantly, the spread of high level of literacy is even across the rural and urban sectors with the respective literacy rate of 68.5 and 81.5 per cent.The total school enrollment ratio for Uttaranchal for the age group of 6-17 was at 87 per cent, significantly higher than the all India ratio of 72 per cent.
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|dpuckjoe||History Of Kumaoni Brahmins||2||May 30 2012, 1:02 AM EDT by jagjoshi44|
Thread started: Jun 18 2007, 6:51 AM EDT Watch
I am very keen to collect the history of all Kumaoni Brahmins, e.g. Joshi's from Galli, from Dania and so on. I will therefore be grateful if people who send me the details of their clan, The details should basically cover the original place in India from where they have migrated to Kumaon, the region in Kumaon where they are now located and all such interesting details.
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