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Himachal Pradesh Celebrates ‘Pahari Divas’ to Preserve Rich Cultural Heritage

On November 1, the people of Himachal Pradesh came together to celebrate 'Pahari Divas,' a three-day festival dedicated to promoting and preserving the traditional art and culture of the state.

By: Rekha Joshi  Pardaphash Group
Himachal Pradesh Celebrates ‘Pahari Divas’ to Preserve Rich Cultural Heritage

On November 1st, the picturesque state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India came alive with vibrant celebrations as people enthusiastically marked ‘Pahari Divas,‘ a three-day festival aimed at promoting and safeguarding the traditional art and culture of the region. The festivities culminated on ‘Pahari Divas,’ a day dedicated to remembering, promoting, and preserving the hill culture of Himachal Pradesh.

At the heart of the celebration was the captivating traditional folk sport known as ‘Thoda,’ which took center stage in the state capital, Shimla. Thoda, an indigenous form of archery, is unique to Himachal Pradesh and is characterized by its fusion of dance and music. Rooted in the Mahabharata era, Thoda holds significant cultural importance and is often performed during various local festivals, serving as a symbolic representation of the epic battle described in the ancient Indian text.

Manjeet Sharma, the organizer and joint director of the Language, Art, and Culture Department of the Himachal Pradesh government, shared insights about the event, emphasizing the importance of preserving this rich cultural heritage. “We celebrate Pahari Divas every year with literary and poetic programs. This year, we made an effort to showcase traditional folk dances and culture from all parts of the state at the ridge to captivate the attention of people, including tourists. We have been celebrating Pahari Divas since 1966,” stated Sharma.

One of the highlights of the event was the participation of young dancers in the Thoda dance, showcasing the cultural continuity and the passing down of traditions from one generation to the next. Shamsher Singh Kreik, the team leader of Thoda Dance, expressed joy over the younger generation’s active involvement in promoting and preserving this folk art form. “It is our responsibility to preserve and promote it,” he affirmed.

Shamsheer Singh, a 57-year-old Thoda dancer, proudly shared that he has passed down the Thoda tradition to his sons, both of whom are pursuing higher education. Reflecting on the event, Rajat Singh Kreik, a Thoda player, emphasized the need for support from the government, advocating for organized tournaments and competitions to promote Thoda as an essential cultural heritage element.

Thoda, rooted in martial culture, holds significance in the districts of Shimla, Sirmaur, and Solan. This unique art form, blending archery, dance, and music, not only showcases the cultural richness of Himachal Pradesh but also serves as a testament to the region’s historical heritage, making ‘Pahari Divas’ a celebration of tradition, unity, and cultural pride.

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