Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India, at the foothills of the Himalayas. Culturally it’s very diverse: most of Himachal Pradesh is Hindu culture but as it stretches to the East, the regions Spiti and Lahaul as well as Kinnaur are Buddhist. Also the Dalai Lama’s exile is in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh and therefore represents an important Buddhist community.
In terms of language, there is a whole bunch! As often with mountain cultures, the dialects change so strongly from village to village. Hindi is definitely the main language. The vegetation is very similar to the typical Middle European setting with lots of orchards. In winter it certainly gets cold and snow is not a rare sight..
Our team is located in small villages in Kullu Valley, which is all around the city Kullu.
In these villages, life mostly revolves around farming and craft. There are only a few small shops managed by the villagers. Our team also speaks their own dialect. Hindi is also spoken and with part of our team even great English. Mornings start with chai and roti (Indian bread) and vegetables and throughout the day weaving and knitting is done as well as other household chores such as gardening or building new parts to the house.
Weaving and knitting is one of the main craft activities of the people of Himachal Pradesh. Women spend a large amount of their day knitting sweaters, beanies and socks for the colder days. The yarn used is mostly acrylic wool as it is available everywhere and popular for the bright colors. Also, local sheep wool is used. Weaving is a big part of Himachali culture. The traditional dress is called Pattu. It’s a woven, woolen fabric which is 2,5 meter long and 1,20 meter wide. It is pinned on the top with a silver brooch and tied on the waist with a small scarf.