Thursday, November 6, 2014

Music and Dance as an Important Cultural Aspect of Jammu and Kashmir

Since we understand that the music
and dance is an integral part of anyone culture and Kashmir is not an exception when it comes to display its inspiring tradition. To understand the historical background of the musical tradition of the Kashmir than traveler would require walking back to the days of human civilization. It is believed that the evolution and the spark of music were initiated by the Brahman communities who used to play sitar and their music portrayed the melodies of Indian classical music.

As we know evolution is a part of every element and an advent of development of the new musical era in Kashmir was brought by Sufism with their arrival the tradition of Sufiana Kalam came into picture. Sufiana Kalam gave rise to other musical instruments like Santoor and Saz which later on became the main elements of their musical chronicles.
Apart from music the tradition of Kashmir is very much defined by its famous dance forms called Rouf. This dance forms according to people welcomes the advent of spring season and the particular dance form is practiced by girls during the carnival of Eid.
Before we talk about their cultural importance and influence of music in shaping their tradition it becomes very important for us to understand the narrative background of the musical heritage. According to folklore the musical transmission of Jammu and Kashmir reflects the civilization of India and Pakistan. They believe that their traditional approach carries an essence and influence of Central Asia, Eastern Asia and Southern Asia but the aspect of their music comprise and constitute the measures of Central Asian music and evidently they use traditional Central Asian instruments and Central Asian scales.

Chakri is amongst the most renowned folk music of Kashmir. This folk music in particular connotes the glory of history and the same is used to tell the stories of Yousuf-Zulaikha, Laila-Majnun etc. beside that the music is used to score the fairy tales one must understand that it requires ample experience and devotion to play Chakri musical instruments like Harmonium, Rabab, Sarangi and Nout. Chakri on a fast note is often called Rouf but one must not dilute the confusion between musical notes Rouf and distinct dance form which is also famous as Rouf.
Some of the renowned Chakri players are Gulam Hassan Sofi, Abdur Rasheed Hafiz, Gulam Nabi Sheikh and Gulam Mohammad Dar.
Rouf or Wanwun
As mentioned above the Rouf is generally performed by girls and owing to its importance the Rouf is performed only during the significant occasions like Eid, marriage and other functions. The dance form of Rouf is very simple and it illustrates the core of dance and songs respectively. While performing Rouf no instruments are required because the tempo of songs keeps the momentum and the girls organize themselves in two or three rows and each of the rows comprises 5-6 girls. As said before the dance form is very simple because each rows steps forward and backward in a swaying motion to decorate the beauty of the art.
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When we talk about Ladishah we must remember to understand its sarcastic form which is generally delivered while singing. Ladishah singers are veteran in terms of evaluating social, political and economic condition of the state and while singing from one village to other they illustrate the dilutive and inefficient administration of the government. To understand it in simple measures Ladishah is generally associated with criticism because they take active participation to analyze the role of the government in developing the social status of the state. Ladishah is a hilarious form of Kashmiri culture and the singers are experienced because they are more into criticizing ongoing issues. Ladishah is performed during the phase of harvesting period.
Sufiana Kalam
It is a classical form of Kashmiri music and can be considered as one of the most traditional and historical strings of melody. It comprises ragas and the instruments which are used to perform Sufiana Kalam are Santoor, Kashmiri Saz, Wasool, Tabla and Sitar. Sufiana Kalam shares its history with the notes musical notes of Iran and it is believed that it arrived here during the course of 15th century. Sufiana Kalam is famous amongst the Kashmiri Sufi mystics and the dance form that compliments the scale of it is renowned Hafiz Nagma.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Just 40 kms away from Kullu to the north, Manali is situated near the end of the valley on the National Highway leading to Leh. The landscape here is breath taking. One sees well-defined snow capped peaks, the Beas river with its clear water meanders through the town. On the other side are deodar and pine trees, tiny fields and fruit orchards. It is an excellent place for a holiday, a favorite resort for trekkers to Lahaul, Spiti, Bara Bhangal (Kangra), and Zanskar ranges. From temples to antiquity, to picturesque sight-seeing spots and adventure activities, Manali is a popular resort for all seasons and for all travellers. The annual State level Winter Carnival was celebrated from 23rd to 27th January, 2011.

Rail: Nearest convenient rail head are at Chandigarh and Pathankot. Manali can be reached from road from these stations.

Road: Manali is well connected by road with Delhi, Ambala, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Haridwar, Shimla, Dharamsala and Chamba/Dalhousie. Regular buses ply between these stations. It is connected with Leh during July to October.
Map of places to visit in Manali

  • Distances from Manali

    Places to visit Km
    Arjun Gufa 4
    Club house 2
    Hidimba Devi temple 2.5
    Jagatsukh 6
    Kothi 12
    Manu temple 3
    Mountaineering Institute 3
    Nehru kund 5
    Rahala water falls 16
    Rohtang pass 51
    Solang valley 13
    Tibetan monasteries
    Vashisht hot water springs and temples 3
    Mandi 110
    Keylong 120
    Trilokinath 152
    Kaza 200
    Kangra 240
    Shimla 260
    Chhatru (L&S) 81
    Batal (L&S) 110
    Kunzum Pass 122
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Alappuzha Beach

Referred to as the Venice of the East, Alappuzha has always enjoyed an important place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today, it is famous for its boat races, backwater holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. Alappuzha beach is a popular picnic spot. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya Beach Park add to the attraction of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse nearby which is greatly fascinating to visitors.

Another delightful experience while in Alappuzha is a houseboat cruise. The ones you find in the backwaters of Alappuzha are in fact reworked version of Kettuvallams of olden times. The original Kettuvallams or rice barges used to carry tons of rice and spices. The Kettuvallam or 'boat with knots' was so called because the entire boat was held together with coir knots only.

Of late, houseboats come with all creature comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. And one can always enjoy uninterrupted views of backwater life while staying in a houseboat.

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