Culture of Shimla – People, Music and Dance

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Do you know what’s nice? Watching the sunrise in all its glory while illuminating the trees and hills, having a steaming cup of chai or coffee by the window, going on soulful and rejuvenating walks amidst the crisp cool air. The Shimla experience has it all. The green vistas of a sea of mountains, accompanied with mind-boggling views and welcoming local folks, what more do you want from a place? Not to mention the awesome locally prepared food, snack, pickles, and the cherry on top? Its culture is deeply rooted in the bygone era.

The people of Shimla have always been super protective and respectful of their thoughts, beliefs, and traditions. In Fact, when the British people started pouring into Shimla to get away from the scorching summer heat of the plains, they quickly recognized and acknowledged the fact that the people, festivals, fairs, and heritage of the locals in Shimla are very distinct from the rest of India and they don’t let anyone waver that. This shows the strength of the culture of Shimla which they keep very close to their hearts and in no condition would compromise it or change it in any way.

Here is everything you need to learn about the culture of Shimla

People of Shimla

Shimla has to be one of the most visited hill stations of India and maybe even the world. It’s affordable, very well connected to other parts of the country, and offers a safe haven for anyone visiting. It’s true that commercialization of Shimla took place at a mind-boggling speed, but the fact remains that the locals never compromise with their age-old heritage and traditions.  They are known for their friendly, welcoming, and warm nature. Their everyday lifestyle is uncomplicated and very down to earth. Instead of running after materialistic possessions, they seek peace within themselves.

The people residing in Shimla represent a beautiful combination of different ethnic tribes, races, and communities. There is no one particular dominant community of people here, rather it is home to people from many different neighboring regions. Coming from varied backgrounds, the locals are fiercely protective about their background culture, and traditions. Most of the influence of the people of Shimla remains deeply connected to the Tibetan lifestyle which is resonated through their fairs, festivals, language, pronunciation, and even foods.

It goes without saying that the economy of the people of Shimla is supported through agricultural activities. You will find acres and acres of hill land covered entirely in apple orchards. Other sources of livelihood are animal rearing and animal husbandry as well. Weaving and government services are also a major part of their life which helps earn not only money but also respect.

Language and religion of Shimla

When it comes to language, Shimla is multilingual in nature because residing in Shimla are numerous communities. Most people of Shimla speak their native Pahari language or Hindi. Some people are also good at speaking Punjabi and some broken English in the main part of the town. The reason being that Shimla is visited by foreigners and English-speaking travelers from across the globe. In the cosmopolitan parts of Shimla, people find it easier to converse in Hindi and English in order to cater to the people coming from different parts of the world. The Punjabi language is most prevalent among the ethnic Punjabi migrant population most of whom have migrated to West Punjab who is said to have settled on the hill safer than the partition in 1947.

Speaking of religion, many people visit Shimla to offer their prayer to the numerous temples, shrines, and sacred places of worship here. The entire Shimla region is dotted with several temples dedicated to Hindu gods and many churches which is a reminder of the bygone British era. Over 93% of the people of Shimla follow Hinduism according to research and census. Less than 3% of the people follow Islam and less than 2% of the population follow Buddhism and Sikhism. There is also a very tiny percentage of people following Jainism and Christianity. You can call Shimla a homogenous group of people coexisting in utmost peace and harmony overages.

Food of Shimla

It is rightly said that if you need to catch the pulse of any place try out their local food, dishes, and cuisines. After all your travel experience remains incomplete without tasting the food of that place. Shimla has it all. From humble locally prepared traditional food to complicated international food prepared in cafes and high-end restaurants. The defining feature of the food of Shimla is that it uses all locally grown, organic, chemical-free raw materials, like vegetables and fruits. You can call it a farm-to-table experience and the taste of these dishes feel much more enhanced and delicious than the ones found in hotels and restaurants. It is a haven for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians because they offer a massive variety of food ranges. Some of the most common food includes – Madra (a chickpea curry dish), Dhaam (a kind of Daal), Sidu (homemade bread), Thukpa (a Tibetan noodle soup), Chha Gosht (lamb curry), and Babru (black gram Kachori dish) and many more to be listed.

Tribes of Shimla

If you just take a stroll in Shimla you will notice that the people here follow different ways of clothing and living. It is the best way of representing the tribal culture and the various tribes that stay in the hills of Himachal. Some of the major tribes living here are the Kinnauris, Gaddies, and Lahaulies. These Tribest are very distinct from each other and are rich in musical heritage, dance forms, dresses, and the regular way of life. No matter how crowded or commercialized Shimla has gotten over the years, these tight-knit groups of ethnic tribal communities continue to practice their religion, traditions, and culture with full responsibility. Other than these ancient tribes that have been calling the Shimla hills their home for overages and centuries, they have been influenced heavily by the Tibetan culture as well. Mainly because a majority of Buddhists who were driven out of Tibet and other hill states retreated and found solace in the untouched, unexplored hills of Himachal Pradesh.

The culture of Shimla is all about inclusion and coexistence. They believe in nurturing good qualities, while also helping out anyone in need. From their food to the clothes they wear and even what they eat represents the deep-seated heritage of this wonderful hill station which is loved and adored by everyone.

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