Bilaspur - Art and Culture

Bilaspur city of Himachal Pradesh, a colorful region with all the natural beauty has a standalone trait of not only adapting to the modern and multicultural heritage with great awe but also maintaining the rich culture lineage with the same dignity. The city enchants both its locals and tourists in the same degree through its different characteristics such as varied tunes, percussion instruments, dances, music, cuisine, and many more representing each occasion that is been celebrated on its land.

Fairs and Festivals of Bilaspur

Bilaspur city is famous for its  folk songs. The tribe here sing assortment of songs out of which, Sohar songs that is sung during child birth, Bihav songs for marriage, and Pathoni songs that is sung while the bride is leaving for her in-laws place after marriage, are quite commonly sung tunes across the land.  Music and songs are major part of the Bilaspur populace, as there are a myriad variety of songs that are tuned for each situation. There are seasonal folk songs that are known as Basant Geet or Fag, Baramasi (12 months), Sawnahi (for rainy season).  While these are some of the seasonal songs, there are melodies for the festive too, such as, Cher-Chera songs are for the new harvest, Dohe of Rout Nacha and Sua songs are festival of lights or Diwali.

The natural color of the city and cultural splendor is enhanced with the different fairs, also locally called as “mela,” is celebrated in the city of Bilaspur. Nalwari or Annual Cattle Fair, is one of the longest fair celebrated in the city. The fair is conducted by the Mela Management Committee, which is conducted on Luhnu Ground for a span of seven days. The seven day is celebration is divided by wrestling conducted for four days and the three days for cattle fair, simultaneously all these days there are exhibitions, cultural nights, and other activities happening. It is a great sight to see the entire city coming together at one place to enjoy the event. Apart from this fair, Gugga Fair, and Baisakhi fair are some of the famous fairs of the territory.

Across the year, there are a number of festivals rejoiced such as: Chatral Festival is celebrated during the “Chet,” which falls in the mid of March, whereas the Raut Nach Festival – Cowherd Dance Festival is celebrated in the month of December. Other festivals that are enjoyed are: Basant Panchami, Lohri, Shivratri, and few more.

Folk Music of Bilaspur

As the folk songs echoes across the city of Bilaspur, similarly the entire region turns joyous with the beautiful tribal dances. These dances are wedded with the folk songs that are sung at every occasion. Both the songs and the dances are presented simultaneously. This custom is practiced since ages. Especially the dance is said to be a little complicate to perform and requires great effort to execute. Some of the dance forms followed across the city are: Dulshol, Dharveshi, Drodi, Dev Naritya, Rakshas Nritya, Dangi, Lasa, Nati and Nagas. These dances are compiled with different steps, beats, and gestures, that alter along with the music and enjoyed for longer hours.

Different names, shapes, and sizes of percussions especially drums are used as part of the music generated for varied occasions in Bilaspur city. Some of the drums that are used are: Dhol, Dholku, Dolki, Nagara, Dammama, Damanght, Nagarth, Gajju, Doru, Hudak and Dhaunsa. These musical instruments are played and handled with great reverence, as some of these are also placed in temples, Gompas, and Madhis. The instruments are treated with deep respect as they perform a ritual of applying turmeric paste, offering flowers and rice, before being played. Connected with the drums are blowing of bugles, which is mostly heard during a start of fairs. Tamaka is a large size drum that is played in the plains especially by the Bharai community during the fair sites. People of this community play the drum, while the younger group sing and dance to the beats. Playing of the drum is considered to be the beginning of a fair or a festival. Smaller in size are the Gaddis or Dafale that are played at weddings by slinging them around the necks. Other smaller forms of drums are Dhamal and Lahauli, which are also played like the Gaddis at special occasions. Drums that are larger in size are Dhaunsa and Tung Yang, which are played by standing.

Traditional Crafts of Bilaspur

A true reflection of the region is mostly reflected through the arts and crafts of the region. Bilaspur’s prominence lies in elegant and intricate woodcraft and stone carving. This art is an ancient practice by the folk of Bilaspur as some of the stone carvings are dated as earliest as 7th and 13th Century. If you are a collector of metal works then, do not miss to pick a souvenir of metal art from this city, as they have amassed intricate designed jars, hookahs, flasks, and many more.

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