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Dip into the richness of the heritage of the Himalayas, its wonderful diversity of plants and animals, its invaluable cultural wealth. Join us, if you wish, on this journey to document the Himalayas.

The Himalayan region is unique and diverse and a repository of a wealth of natural and cultural resources. The altitude changes have created different agroclimatic conditions and diverse ecosystems with differentiated human geography. The seclusion and remoteness of the region has made it among the last bastions of globally significant biodiversity and cultural heterogeneity. Much of it lies unrecorded however and is vulnerable to being lost with the passage of time and associated erosion of cultural ethos and change in ecosystems. Documentation of this rich heritage is the first step to its preservation.


Himalaya Documentation is an ongoing initiative of Pragya, the host organization for Himalayan Voices, to preserve and promote the rich heritage of the Himalayas. Recognition of the heritage will, we hope, generate pride in it and value for it among the Himalayan communities, and respect for it among the wider public, and thus induce its revitalization and preservation. In addition, such documentation will help protect the heritage from the patent pirates that tread the world today

 
Costumes and Ornaments of the Lahaulis
by Research & Advocacy Team, Pragya
Due to the cold climate, the popular fabric for clothes is wool. The men wear loose trousers of thick, dark coloured wool, called suthan with a full-sleeved shirt called kurta. Over this, they wear a long and loose Tibetan gown called kattar, which may be white or brown in colour. It is tied at the waist with a sash or girdle called skyerag. The women's clothing is quite similar with certain minor differences. The women’s trousers are more like a chudidar pyjama (tight trousers with gathers near the ankles). They wear a gown called dugpa over a kurta, and this is also tied at the waist with the skyerag. While the men's gown is buttoned on the right, the women’s is tied in front with strings. The women usually wear a green or yellow jacket over the gown during winter. The women may also use a woolen shawl or chaddar during the winter months. During summer...
Natural Resources

E-herbaria


Cultivation Package


Ethnobotanic Database


Fauna


Cultural Resources

Tribes


Social-Economics Fabric

Language & Literature


Arts, Craft & Architecture

 
 
Status Of Women in The Himalayas
by Ipshita Roy, Pragya
The women in the mountains are given special importance, since their role is more elaborate as compared to the women of other regions. Although most say that the women in the Himalayas share a fairly equal status with their male counterparts, it needs to be examined further in the different aspects of their life, such as the social, economic and cultural aspects. Their contribution is considered significant, particularly in the aspects of natural resource management, agricultural production, tourism, and the well-being and the survival of their families. The women, if considered as a class, are under-nourished, underpaid and under-represented in the decision making, in regard to their labour supplied.

Agriculture is one of the main occupations and a major source of livelihood. Due to the uneven topography and the prevalence of traditional methods of agriculture, the occupation becomes labour intensive in nature. The male population tends to migrate to the urban areas due to the lack of alternative sources of income. Besides these, even when men are involved they confine themselves to limited participation and selected operations that demand considerable risk...
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Festivals of Lahaul & Spiti by Heritage Management Team, Pragya
Festivals reflect the true essence of a culture. They are always joyful occasions when the community gets together to have some fun, entertainment...
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The Society and Culture of Lahaul & Spiti
Himalayan Heritage
Weaving in Garhwal Himalaya
by Poonam Pandit
Wool is either bought from the market or is obtained from sheep reared at home. The processing of wool involves cleaning, washing and treating...
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Weaving in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
 
Mountain Tourism: A Boon or Bane?
in Economy & Livelihoods
Among mountain populations, women play a crucial role in natural resource management, agricultural production, tourism, well-being and the very survival of mountain families, but they are more undernourished, under-compensated for their labor and under-represented...
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Mountain Themes
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Women and Development in the Garhwal Himalayas
in Social Issues
A close look at the social, economic and political aspects of development in the Garhwal Himalayas clearly indicates that women remain a neglected lot. Their work in the society is overlooked, and their basic needs and aspirations are also ignored. As a result...
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Mountain Issues
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A Naturalist in Himalaya
in E-Books
Written in non-technical language, this book is a record of observations in natural science collected between the years 1914-1916 in the Himalayan valley of Hazara. The book starts with a general introduction to the valley gradually moving on the varied life forms present there...
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E-Books
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About life in the hills
in Voices Gallery

Chhering Gatuk
Kaza, Lahaul & Spiti,
Himachal Pradesh, India

"I like the fresh air and pollution free atmosphere in the hills. There is no competition for money and people are not conscious of their status so they treat each other as equals."
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Voices Gallery
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Ethno-botanic Database
in  Natural Resources Database
Aconitum ferox
Aconitum ferox is a perennial herb. The leaves are scattered, ovate-reniform, and the flowers are blue in colour with purple veins, arranged in terminal racemes. The plant...
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Natural Databases
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Facts on Himalayan People
Tribes of the Himalayas
The Himalayas are home to several tribes, each with their distinct socio-cultural heritage and customs. Their populations are mainly adapted to the challenging topography and climate of the region, where remoteness and poor connectivity has often kept them away from...
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Factsheets
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Himalayan Herbs:The Himalayas are a storehouse of several species of the most rare & valuable species of medicinal & aromatic plants. A bio-geographically unique region, it has the maximum degree of endemism in the Asian region, and its range of altitudes provides it with diverse agro-climatic conditions that support about 18,440 species of plants, of which 25.3% is endemic to the region, and several among these possess medicinal and aromatic properties...
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Himalayan Fauna:The Himalayas comprise several habitats and concurrently multiple zoo-geographic regions. These habitats are home to a wide variety of mammals, birds and reptiles. Some are endemic to particular zoo-geographic zones, while others are found across the entire range. The Tibetan wild ass is thus limited to the upper reaches of the western Himalayas, while the one-horned rhino is found only in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas. The snow leopard is a resident of the very high altitudes in...
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Tribes of the Himalayas:The isolation bred by the high mountain ranges have helped nurture a multiplicity of tribes in the Himalayan region, and the frequent waves of migration and the resultant melding of racial strains of the Negroid, Mongoloid and Aryan races have given lifestyles that are at once very different and yet similar. There are the Dards and Mons of the western Himalayas, those of the Khasa and Kanet ancestry in the west and central Himalayas, the Thakurs, Chhetris, Gurungs and Tamangs and many others of...
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Socio-economic fabric of the Himalayas:The people of the Himalayan region have a unique culture that is characterized by a wide range of customs and traditions, as a result of the agro-climatic variations, as well as the striking homogeneity because of their shared racial origin, interactions, and similar geographic context. This includes the socio-economic fabric of social hierarchies, family structure, status of women, and rites of passage, as well as occupations & livelihoods. Secluded for centuries due to the region's remoteness, the cultural sovereignty of the Himalayan tribes had remained intact. In recent years, however,...
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Arts, crafts and architecture:The Himalayan communities have a wealth of traditional art forms and crafts, that include thangka painting, wood carving, carpet weaving, and traditional music and dances. These art and craft forms follow a distinct Himalayan style, characterized by Tibetan, Nepali and Kashmiri religious cultures and span the areas under the sway of these particular cultures. Himalayan style art is generally religio-aesthetic in nature, and comprises of iconography, composition, symbols and...
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