Uttaranchal Society and Culture contains a significant cultural divide based on the two regions of the state including the Himalayan region of Garhwal and the hilly region of Kumaon. However, the state as a whole portrays a varied cultural heritage.
Garhwal, or Gadhwal, is the administrative division of Uttaranchal and includes the districts of Chamoli, Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri (Pauri Garhwal), Rudraprayag, Tehri (Tehri Garhwal), and Uttarkashi. The administrative center for Garhwal division is the town of Pauri.
On the other hand, the Society and Culture of Uttarakhand's Kumaon region can said to be a blend of influences from the native population as well as from the immigrants that have come and settled in the region. And this is depicted in the dialects, languages, festivals, and fairs of the region.
Be it the Garhwali or Kumaoni, the people of Uttaranchal who are popularly called as "pahari", meaning the "people of the mountains", take pride in their origin.
The Rajputs form 70% of Uttaranchal population, 20% consists of Brahmins and the remaining 10% comprises of other castes and communities. Most locals, like the Jaunsari, Bhotia, Buksha, Tharu, and Raji, of the region follow their own variations of Hinduism and Buddhism religion. Sikh and Muslim populations have also migrated to the land from neighboring states and form an integral part of the Uttaranchal society and culture.
Garhwali is the main language of the state and is widely used in its colloquial form all around Uttaranchal. However, Hindi is used extensively in almost all the parts of the state.
The religious, social and cultural urges of the people of Uttarakhand help in forming a colourful society and culture of Uttarakhand. This is viewed in different fairs and festivals of the state including the world famous Kumbh Mela and the Ardh Kumbh Mela held in Haridwar at an interval of 12 and 6 years respectively.
Folk songs and dances also form an integral part of the society and culture of Uttarakhand. Chhopati, Chounphula, Jhumeila, Malushahi, Bair, and Hurkiya Bol are some form of popular folk songs. The major dance forms of the state include Langvir Nritya, Barada Nati folk dance, Pandava Nritya, Dhurang, Jharva, Chandhur Chhapalior and so on.
The rich cultural heritage of the state is, in fact, one of the major contributors in popularizing tourism in Uttaranchal, along with its exotic beauty and pilgrim centers. Any trip to this tranquil state will be incomplete unless you explore the wonderful culture and lifestyle of the local people.