RAKKH PATRIKA

02 April 2020

KANGRA
A look at Culture and Habitat


Once the seat of power in all of Himachal, Kangra is equally renowned for its rich cultural milieus - be it the miniature painting tradition, pottery scene, or its handicrafts. Kangra entered its greatest phase in terms of poetry, art, and music under the reign of Sansar Chand in the late 18th century. The heritage of those eras remains etched in the handiwork of the artists of Kangra even today. 

Miniature Kangra Paintings - Himachal Pradesh

Miniature Painting

Kangra is well known for a distinctive brand of miniature painting, some of which may be viewed at the museum near Kangra Fort. Miniature painting flourished in Guler, Basohli (which even had its own school of thought, the Basohli school of painting), Chamba, Nurpur, and Bilaspur among others.
The abiding theme of Kangra painting is the verdant greenery on display, and the rich textures afforded to landscapes, typically involving mountains and pastures. The distinguished body of work of several unknown Kangra artists has a number of common characteristics: details of dress, delicate lines, soft pastel colours embellished with gold, and the use of varied hues of green shades to evoke depth and texture. The heritage of the Pahari school of painting was believed to have faded but with a renewed interest by patrons, it is undergoing a revival.

Music and Pottery 

Other cultural avenues in Kangra include a distinctive Pahadi music genre and the art of pottery. Music has long been an integral part of festivities in Kangra, and the lilting melodies of Pahadi songs have a widespread appeal. In fact, songs such as Morni, Kali Ghaghri, and Maye Ni Meriye have struck a chord far beyond Himachal's borders.
Pottery has been synonymous with mankind's evolution through the ages and Kangra, too, bears the relics of this craft. Where it differs from the rest is that a village by the name of Andretta pays homage to pottery-making in this district. Workshops are held by masters of the craft, and unique showpieces are up for purchase here.

Cane and Bamboo 

Artisans or Basketweavers who are present almost all over the district practice basket making craft or basketry. Various utility items like kiltu — large conical basket for storing grain, cushion-like seats and fans are crafted by these artisans. Cane and bamboo are the two most commonly used materials in daily life in Kangra. Products ranging from household implements to construction of dwelling houses to weaving accessories to musical instruments are made in bamboo. 

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