Art forms of Himachal Pradesh

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Art forms of Himachal Pradesh

The ancient art of Himachal Pradesh has survived in the form of  Temple architecture , wood carvings , stone and metal sculptures , paintings and Chamba Rumals. This art can be divided into three groups :-

Khasha Art

Indo Aryan

Indo Tibetan

The most ancient art and architecture of Himachal Pradesh is in the Khasha style and the basic material used is wood.

Temple Architecture if Himachal Pradesh

Throughout Himachal Pradesh, there are four distinct styles of hill temple architecture which mark out different eras of religious beliefs. Taking the style of the roof as the basis of distinction, the four types are:

  1. The ‘pent’ roof and verandahArt forms of Himachal Pradesh
  2. Pyramidical
  3. Pagoda fashion with successive wooden roofs one on top of the other
  4. A mixture of sloping and pagoda type roofs (known as Sutlej valley style)

Each geographical zone of the state has its own distinctive style of architecture. The low lying hills or the Shivalik hills have Shikhara, doomed and flat-roofed temples. The mid and higher hills have pent-roofed and pagoda roofed temples. The high mountainous areas have again flat-roofed temples but in a different style.

 

Pent Style

The pent roof temples are the most ancient. Some examples of this style are:

Lakshana Devi Temple at Bharmour (Chamba)

Shakti Devi temple at Chhatrari (Chamba)

Mirkula Devi Temple at Udaipur (Lahaul-Spiti)

 

Pyramidical Style

Pyramidical roofs are found in Jubbal valley. The classical examples in this style are:

Hateshwari Devi and Shiva temples at Hatkoti and Mahasu (Shimla)

Shiva temples at Deora in Jubbal (Shimla)

Pagoda Style

The pagoda style is the most interesting of all. It came to this region from Nepal, where it is common to most of the temples in Kathmandu. There are numerous pagoda-style temples in Mandi, Kullu, Shimla hills and Kinnaur regions of Himachal Pradesh. The classical examples in this style are:

Prashar temple (Mandi)

Hadimba temple in Manali (Kullu)

Tripura Sundari temple at Nagar (Kullu)

Triyugi Naryan temple at Dyar (Kullu)

Adi Brahma temple at Khokhan (Kullu)

Manu temple at Shanshar (Kullu)

Maheshwar temple at Sungra (Kinnaur)

Chagoann temple (Kinnaur)

Sutlej Valley Style

The fourth style (a fusion of pent roof and pagoda style) is generally found in the upper Sutlej valley. Some examples of this style of temples are:

Bahna Mahadev Temple (kangra)

Dhaneshwari Devi at Nethar in Outer Seraj (Kullu)

Woodcraft

The Hilly area of Himachal has remained isolated from the world for a long time. This isolation has acted as a boon for the region as it has enabled them to have a culture of their own. The vivacious assortments include detailed work of wood, classical embroidery on leather, wonderfully decorative carpets, customary woolen shawls apart from other things. The distinct culture and traditions of the Himalayas are evident in its artwork. Weaving, carving, painting, and chiseling – have made a foray into the very essence of Himachal and its culture. The colorful pashminas, exquisite wooden doors, and rhythmic sculptures are all inspired by the natural beauty.

The First temples made of wood date back to as long as the 6th Century AD. They were traced to be in the Brahmaur and Chhatrarhi in Chamba valley of Himachal. Numerous extra temples sculpt in timber lie sprinkled across Himachal. The skill further translates as idols of gods made in wood. They are present both in rural and Urban styles. Useful items carved in wood are often used to decorate Pahari homes –The extent of which exhibits the class and strata of the family.

Sculpture

The post Gupta phase which is also known as the Rajput period is the classical age of Himachal art and has produced some of the best stone and metal sculptures. The outstanding example in the stone can be seen at Hatkoti temple, Nirath , Nirmand , Mamel and Masrur.

The metal statuettes of Mahishasurmrdani of Hatkoti in Jubbal , Lakshana Devi ,Shakti Devi Narasimha , Ganesh and Vishnu Chaturmurti in Chamba. Mrikula Devi in Lahaul and Bhim Kali (the family deity of Raja of Bushahr) are also a product of this period.

Paintings

Himachal has not only been blessed by a great natural heritage but also with an extremely vivacious cultural heritage. Himachal is deeply influenced by the culture of Tibet. Apart from this, Himachal also shares its borders with the state of Jammu Kashmir which again has its own very unique culture. Thus, the indigenous culture of Himachal Pradesh has been deeply influenced by these two cultures and hence presents a fusion unparalleled by any.

These artwork scrutinize the finest Pahari fine art and has been perfected for more than centuries under the careful and generous imperial patronage. Spiritual and nature-inspired subjects are the characteristic of Kangra paintings but every particular part of the pack is furthermore embroidered with vibrant colors and sharp detailing.

Chamba Rumal

The hankies are usually plain, perfect for the mundane act of wiping hands and faces. But the Chamba Rumal (rumal means handkerchief) is no ordinary hankie, and certainly too rare and precious to wipe your face with.

 

Patronized by the royalty of Himachal Pradesh, the Chamba Rumal is a fine display of Himalayan embroidery and crafts traditions.

The Chamba Rumal gets its name from Chamba, a hill-station in Himachal Pradesh, where it has been practiced for centuries. The earliest records of the region dates back to 2nd century BC, making it one of the most ancient destinations in the state. The region is known for its history, architecture and landscapes but the local community is also known for its arts and crafts, in particular the miniature Pahari paintings.

The Pahari school of art has received royal patronage since the 17th century when it is believed to have originated in the region. Though miniature Pahari paintings are most commonly recognized, the term encompasses a variety of forms from murals to paintings. The impeccable needlework on the Chamba Rumals too is derived from the art movement, combining miniature art with embroidery.

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