Folk Music and Songs of Uttarakhand

Folk Music and Songs of Uttarakhand

Music contributes significantly to Uttarakhand’s cultural and traditional character. They have songs to celebrate every month, occasion, and auspicious moment. Garhwal’s folk music is distinct from Kumaon’s. Uttarakhand’s melodies and music reflect its ancient richness.
People sing them at important events. The folk songs in this collection can be divided into several groups. They include weddings, ceremonies, and melancholy. Musicians use instruments such as the dhol, thali, dholki, turri, damoun, and harmonium. If you listen, you will sense the music’s connection to nature in its tones and melody.


Bajuband songs are traditional tunes sung during farming seasons in Uttarakhand. They accompany agricultural work, providing rhythm and harmony to the laborious tasks. These songs lighten the workload and celebrate the agrarian cycle, reflecting the deep connection between the people and their land. Bajuband songs embody the spirit of resilience and community in Uttarakhand’s rural life through melodic verses and rhythmic beats.


This is one of Uttarakhand’s most popular types of song and music, and it is performed at festivities, festivals, fairs, weddings, and other events. This song is done in a question-and-answer format between a man and a lady using Dhol, Dholki, Turri, Mandan, and other instruments, and it is a lot of fun to watch. It is classified as a ‘love song’ and is usually sung by people from Rawain – Jaunpur in the Tehri Garhwal area. This song is typically accompanied by a dance performance, a dynamic and entertaining activity to observe.


In Uttarakhand, both Garhwali and Kumaoni people sing special songs called Jagar. These songs come from an old word meaning “to wake.” People sing Jagar as a ceremony to honor their ancestors’ spirits. They believe singing these hymns wakes up the local gods and goddesses. Jagar can also be used to ask the gods for forgiveness or help. The Indian government recently gave an award to Basanti Devi Bisht, the only woman who sings Jagar, to show how important these traditional songs are.


Basanti songs are sung joyfully to welcome the arrival of spring after winter. They sound cheerful and happy, celebrating the blooming flowers in the hills. This song is extraordinary in Uttarakhand and is sung enthusiastically by people across the hills when colorful flowers start to bloom. It’s like a celebration of nature’s beauty and renewal, bringing people together to sing their favorite Basanti songs.

Mangal Geet / Gaali Mangal Geet

In Uttarakhand, there are special happy songs called Mangal Geet sung at weddings and other holy ceremonies. These songs are sung at the same time as a priest chants prayers in Sanskrit.

Here’s the interesting part: Mangal Geet can be sung like poems, and sometimes people even include a little teasing in the lyrics! Because it’s an old tradition, this teasing isn’t considered rude. These fun songs add joy to weddings and make them unforgettable, especially in Garhwali weddings where they’re a really important part of the celebration.


In the hills of Uttarakhand, shepherds have special folk music called Chhura. These songs are like advice from grandparents to their grandkids. The elders sing about their experiences herding sheep, goats, and other animals, hoping the younger generation will learn from them. Both men and women sing Chhura, and it’s an important tradition kept alive by the respected elders of the community.


Khuded songs are emotional folk tunes sung in Uttarakhand, expressing feelings of longing and separation. They are often sung by women whose loved ones have migrated for work. These songs reflect the deep emotions and hopes for reunion within the community, touching hearts with their poignant melodies and heartfelt lyrics.


Uttarakhand’s vibrant weddings come alive with Mangal Geet, auspicious songs sung by both sides of the family. These joyful melodies, often accompanied by playful teasing, bless the bride and groom while simultaneously honoring the ceremony with Sanskrit chants recited by a priest. This beautiful blend of tradition, playful banter, and blessings creates a truly memorable and joyous atmosphere for the special day.


From the soulful hymns of Bhajans to the melancholic tales of Khuded, Uttarakhand’s music is a vibrant tapestry woven with history, culture, and the spirit of the Himalayas. Each genre tells a story, evokes emotions, and paints a picture through its instruments, rhythms, and lyrics. This unique soundscape connects the past to the present, celebrated in joyous wedding songs and spiritual rituals. As the world embraces new influences, Uttarakhand music is evolving while staying true to its roots. So, immerse yourself in this symphony of sounds and discover the stories waiting to be heard on your next visit.

FAQs About Uttarakhand Folk Music and Songs

1. What is Uttarakhand folk music known for?

Uttarakhand folk music is renowned for its diversity and reflection of local culture. It includes various forms like Jagar (ritualistic songs), Chhopati (romantic songs), Basanti (spring songs), and Khuded (songs of longing). These songs often celebrate nature, love, spirituality, and daily life in the hills.

2. What are some traditional instruments used in Uttarakhand folk music?

Traditional instruments in Uttarakhand folk music include the dhol (drum), damaun (small drum), turri (wind instrument), ransingha (brass horn), and dholki (smaller drum). These instruments accompany singers and add rhythm and melody to performances.

3. What occasions are Uttarakhand folk songs sung during?

Uttarakhand folk songs are sung during various occasions such as festivals, weddings, agricultural activities, and social gatherings. They play a significant role in celebrations, rituals, and expressing community bonds.

4. What themes do Uttarakhand folk music typically explore?

Uttarakhand folk music explores themes like love, nature, seasons (especially spring with Basanti songs), spiritual devotion (in Jagar songs), and daily life experiences. Each song form has its own unique purpose and cultural significance.

5. How does Uttarakhand folk music preserve cultural heritage?

Uttarakhand folk music preserve cultural heritage by passing down stories, traditions, and values from generation to generation. They serve as a means of oral history, maintaining linguistic diversity and reinforcing community identity.

6. Are there specific communities or regions known for particular types of folk music in Uttarakhand?

Yes, different regions and communities within Uttarakhand have their distinctive styles of folk songs. For example, Chhopati songs are popular in the Jaunsar-Bawar region, while Jagar songs are prevalent in spiritual ceremonies across the state.


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