Mussoorie or lovingly named ‘the queen of hills’ is an iconic holiday destination on the Garhwal hills of Devbhoomi Uttarakhand. This ancient Himalayan town is more than just scenic beauty; it is a place that has gained popularity because of the people, residents, and locals who have made Mussoorie their home for generations. The people of Mussoorie are grounded, humble, Soft Spoken, helpful and welcoming. Their way of life is simple and honest. The culture here is a beautiful combination of Garhwali, Tibetans, Buddhists, and many others. Other than the locals that you may spot during your holiday in Mussoorie there are many unnamed tribes that are found in the deeper parts of the hills. All these beliefs that are being followed through the ages have carved out the current Mussoorie that we all know and love. Diversity and cultural heritage have made Mussoorie what it is. Here is everything you need to know about the culture of Mussoorie.
Mussoorie Culture – Music, People, Art and Craft
Art and Craft
Uttarakhand is the land of gods and the place where history and mythology merge to create an atmosphere of complete serenity, peace, and love. The art and craft of Mussoorie make it clear that the bygone era is deeply rooted in people’s way of life which is translated through their art and craft. Here are some interesting handicraft cultures of Mussoorie:
Garhwal Paintings – Garhwali paintings are one of the best ways of learning more about the culture here. They are also one of the most loved souvenirs in Mussoorie since they can easily beautify your home. These paintings are also considered to be a divine blessing embedded in the sacred geometry of the murals of Aipan or Peeth. These paintings are also used to beautify clothing pieces like Dupatta for Women.
Pahari Paintings – Other than region-specific painting, Mussoorie is also a cultural hub for Pahari paintings which range from folk art to miniature art. All this painting art is credited to the establishment of Garhwal School of art whose founder himself was a founder, a poet, and a historian. He took great effort in highlighting the importance of folk painting in preserving traditional culture. These paintings depict women in a divine form, love, and spirituality.
Wood Carvings – Wood carvings are very common because they have all the available resources. These unique wood carvings also showcase designs with a touch of nature. Even the doors, windows, copper utensils, and other materials are carved out beautifully in local and traditional art forms. Mussoorie also produces some interesting, traditional wooden dolls called Pahadi Juniyali dolls. The excellent wood carvings can also be seen in the temple walls and gates here.
Dekara – Dekaras are clay modeled figurines of gods and goddesses created by hand in three-dimensional forms. Various colors are mixed with clay to produce these clay models dedicated to different gods and goddesses. The colors used are vibrant hues depicting various historically and religiously auspicious moments for example the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Holy occasions like Kartik Sankranti feature these clay god statues called Dekaras since they are believed to bring divine blessings to the home or wherever they are kept.
People of Mussoorie
Uttarakhand in general is a wonderful mix of a variety of different ethnicities, races, and communities. Although there is no real native here, over a long period of time people from various backgrounds have made their way to the hills of Mussoorie. The people are mainly dependent on agricultural activities and selling locally made handicraft items however many people in Mussoorie are also dependent on tourism and other such tourist-related fields like guide work as well. Commonly the people of Mussoorie and hills, in general, are called Paharis in general and follow different traditions and belong to different backgrounds. The tribes residing in Mussoorie is a colorfully vibrant mosaic of Jadh, Marcha, Shauka, Tolcha, Tharu, Jaunsari, Gujjar, Bhotia, and Raji than the ethnic and locally concentrated Garhwali and Kumaoni Folks. When it comes to scientific reasoning, human samples have shown that the people living in Mussoorie come from ancient races such as proto – Australoid, Nordic, mongoloid, and Dravidian.
Language and Religion
Time and again it has been clear that Devbhoomi Uttarakhand is home to some of the most incredible collections and a mixture of various different beliefs, races, traditions, and cultures that follow a distinct way of life, practice different religious practices and speak different languages. A wide majority of the people living in Mussoorie are Hindus and speak Hindi, Garhwali, Kumaon, and even some English. The main language in Mussoorie is mostly Garhwali along with some Punjabi and Kumaon. A very small fraction of people living on the hills, especially the remote unreachable tribes, have their own languages and religion. The entire region of Mussoorie and Uttarakhand is dotted with various places of worship, holy spots, temples, Gurudwaras, churches, mosques, and more. It is a welcoming place for people following any religion as long as they are respectful of each other’s beliefs and don’t ridicule them.
Music of Mussoorie
Mussoorie celebrates a diaspora of musical variety owing to the different cultures it is home to. The root of most of these musical tones, rhythm, and even the instrument is deeply rooted in the lap of Himalayan nature. They are a true reflection of the cultural heritage and the general way of life that the people of Mussoorie follow. Most of the musical instruments used in the traditional folk songs are Turri, Dhol Damau, Dholki, Ransingha, Daur Thali, Bhankora, and Mashakbaja. In some songs, Tabla and harmonium are also used widely. Even though the songs and traditional folk music have undergone a very rigorous transformation stage, the core, and soul of these songs remain the same. Some popular Uttarakhand Folk music singers who have gained huge popularity are Gajendra Rana, Narendra Singh Negi, Gopal Babu Swami, and Mohan Upreti among others.
Mussoorie is a charming amalgamation of age-old culture, a rich heritage, and beliefs that go to the ancient ages. The rich diversity of people, language, religion, and festivals have helped shape the Mussoorie we love and adore today.