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Kangra Valley: Cycles and Rituals


Sidhbari and Rakkar village in the Kangra valley.


Communities which reside in the Kangra Valley are Gaddi, Gujjar, Hali, Dogri, Doomna, Thakur, Rajput, Chowdhary, Tibetans, Nepalis, etc.

Primary occupations

Varies from community to community but they are mostly agriculturalists. Gaddis were primarily semi-nomadic pastoralistgroup, but they have taken down to settled agriculture. Livelihood patterns are changing these days and agriculture is not a primary occupation for many communities here.

Main types of crops

Kharif and Rabi are the main types of crops. The rabi crops are sown in winter and harvested in spring, like wheat, jo, linseed, potato, onion etc. The kharif crops are sown before monsoon and harvested before winter, like rice, corn and few other vegetables.

Village deity

Pakhalu Nag–the snake god worshipped locally. The Nag cult is very popular here. Most of the villages have an idol of the Nag and most of the Nags are believed to be related in some way.

Rituals associated with agriculture in the fields

Every time before sowing or ploughing, people perform a small ritual for agricultural tools and the earth. They never sow the seeds without making a visit to the Nag mandir in their respective village. People always make their first offering of crops to the Nag god.

Local rituals for agriculture

Once the crops are sown, it is a local tradition to visit the Nag mandir to pray for rain. They perform a ritual where the god is invoked in a human being called Chela and he specifies the monsoon dates. Until now, it has always rained on the dates that the Chela specifies. To please the Nag god, people used to sacrifice a goat or a ram. Oral traditions like folk songs and stories also form an important part of many rituals, seasons and everyday activities.


Festivals associated with agriculture

Lohri/ Makar Sankaranti: Celebrated in January, as a period of transformation where the houses are filled with kharif crops and the rabi crops are sown in the fields.

Baisakh: Celebrated in April after the wheat harvest.

Haryali pooja: Celebrated in July/ August where dolls of Shiva and Parvati are made and ceremoniously wedded to each other to signify fertility. This pooja is performed after the kharif crops are sown.

Sair: Celebrated in August, after monsoon season.

Diwali: Celebrated in October/ November to mark the beginning of kharif harvest.