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Travelease MaxArt and Heritage
The hilly terrain of Uttaranchal State are a veritable open-air museum with a treasure trove of artifacts strewn all over with gay abandon. These priceless treasures have been preserved intact over the centuries, despite the vagaries of time. The exquisite Art of Garhwal & Kumaon provide a remarkable in- sight into the life, culture and traditions of the people who inhabited the region before the advent of modernity. Even today, these are of immense interest for anthropologists, art historians and art lovers.

Template Architecture
Due to its inaccessibility, this region (Garhwal & Kumaon) was least disturbed by the political upheavals that occurred in the plains due to wars. Temple architecture was patronized under the powerful and wealthy kings of Paun, Katuyaris, Pawars and Chanda dynasties who encouraged the construction of big stone temples, wood carvings, ornaments, pattas, aipans etc. Big stone temples were erected with highly intricate and ornamental carvings, having beautiful stone and metal idols.

Temple complexes of Adi Badri ( Distt. Chamoli) and Baijnath ( Distt. Almora) are but few examples of this. The kings of the Katuyar dynasty constructed many stone Temples in high and inaccessible places. Temples of Kedarnath, Tungnath etc. are but a few examples of this. The ruins of the Temples and palaces of Champawat are mute witness of the wealth and glory of those powerful and wealthy kings. In later periods, however the Temples and Temple complexes remained not only a place of religious practice but also became the meeting points of intellectuals. Here artists used to gather to display their best art works, poems and pundits to debate over complicated philosophical issues. Kamleshwar Temple of Srinagar (Garhwal) and Nanda Devi Temple (Distt. Almora) are fine example of these.

Aipan, The Folk Art of Kumaon & Garhwal
On the bank of the suyal River near Barechhina in District Almora, two painted rock-shelters have been discovered. They reveal paintings of animals, humans and also testifiers done with fingers in black, red and white colours. There is circumstantial evidence for regarding the Barechhina paintings as prehistoric and representing the starting point of art in Kumaon. The womenfolk of Kumaon have played a major role in perpetuating the traditions of folk art. The style of painting is locally known as Aipan

Himalayas is a Sanskrit word meaning, "abode of snow". It is the tallest mountain range, whose spiny ridges spread out halfway across the world's largest continent. The formidable range with at least eighty peaks above 20000 feet, the snow-covered silvery summits spread out beyond the horizon, gigantic glaciers, high plateau, the magnificent roaring dark gorges, are an awe inspiring spectacle that transcends description.

But this great abode of snow is more than ice, snow and rock. Since antiquity it has been home of a great diversity of people, who have developed many magnificent cultures. With passage of time all these become one with the great wonderland, that is India. Like many other, the culture of Garhwal and Kumaon have their rich and definite contributions to the ocean of great Indian Culture. The traditions folk art of the region was preserved in its original form, since Garhwal and Kumaon were inaccessible in the past, due to the high mountain ranges and rugged topography. The art of Garhwal & Kumaon can be divided in five parts

Wood Carving
Found in abundance in the hills, the crafts persons of Garhwal & Kumaon mastered the art of wood caving. The woodcarving of Garhwal and Kumaon are famous for its simple and beautiful designs. Even today the wooden front doors of many houses of Garhwal are beautifully carved with floral designs, animals and fishes. Ornamental wood carvings on front doors are known as Kholi in the local language. In the past houses were beautifully ornamented with caved wooden doors and it was considered to be a reflection of a man's status. The wealthier a persons was, the bigger was the front wooden door and more complicated were the carved designs. These beautifully ornamented doors and windows still attract art lovers.

Garhwal was always considered a safe haven for wanderers, adventures, political sufferers, philosophical thinkers and nature lovers. About the middle of the 17th century A.D. Suleman Shikoh, a Mughal Prince, took refuge in Garhwal. The Prince brought along with him an artist and his son who were his court painters and well versed in the Mughal style of Miniature painting. After nineteen months, the Prince left Garhwal but his court painters enchanted by the environs settled in Srinagar (Garhwal), the then capital of the Pawar dynasty and introduced the Mughal style of painting in Garhwal. With the passage of time, the successors of these original masters became expert painters and also developed an original style of their own. This style later on came to be known as the Garhwal School of Painting.

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