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Chail Culture

The rolling topography of Chail bejeweled with its interminable bequest of natural splendor has been inhabited by the semi-nomadic tribes such as Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Lahaulis, Pangwals, etc. and other communities including Brahmins, Rajputs, Rathis, Kannets, etc. for past several centuries. The residents of Chail are pretty friendly, hospitable and down to earth by nature and their simplicity and modesty becomes evident from their humble and uncomplicated way of living. They try to seek happiness and contentment in every trivial thing and proficiently maintain the equilibrium between both the traditional and modern lifestyles. Chail; the potpourri of multifarious tribes and races peacefully dwelling together presents a charming montage of a multi-religious, multi-cultural and multilingual society. The denizens of Chail are primarily influenced by the Tibetan lifestyle which predominantly reflects in their clothing, cuisine and the way of living. The chief religions followed in Chail include Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism. The foremost languages spoken in Chail are; Hindi, Himachali, Garhwali, Pahari, Pashto, Kohistani and English.
Agriculture is the major occupation of the people here. However, apart from farming, cattle husbandry, weaving, handicrafts making, timber, saw mills and last but not the least, the tourism industry steer the economy of the residents of Chail. The Himachalis of Chail are highly praised for their exclusive skills in creating splendid handicraft articles and other stunning pieces of art and home décor. Tourists make it a point to carry various hand crafted wood, metalwork and sandstone items viz. key chains, candle stands, carved sticks, pots, pans, spoons, hand fans, other trinkets, woolen & Pashmina shawls, Kinnauri mufflers, scarves, Himachali caps, pullovers, sweaters, woolen coats, gloves, socks, rugs, carpets, handmade shoes, Tibetan jewelery, metal, silver and stone-studded jewelery, other local tweeds, utensils, ritualistic vessels, idols, dolls, other artifacts, etc. on their way back from Chail.
The inhabitants of Chail are extremely keen on dance and music and they form the integral part of all festivals and religious & social celebrations of Chail. The Himachali songs and dances are principally based on various religious themes such as invoking deities and seeking their blessings. Other themes of the Himachali dance and music comprise of the war songs which narrate the romantic stories of war and celebrate the valor and gallantry exhibited by the warriors in the endeavor of protecting their Mother Land. The special musical instruments played by the musicians of Chail include Flute, Chimta, Ektara, Ghunghroo, Ghariyal, Turhi, Karna, Manjara, Kindari, Jhanjh, Ranasingha, etc. Naati, Ujagjama, Kharait, Chadhgebrikar, Shunto, Dangi, etc are the famous dancing styles of Himachal while the major dance forms of Chail and Shimla include Kayang Dance, Bnayangchu Dance, Bakayang Dance, Jataru Kayang Dance, Chohara Dance, Rasa Dance, Shand Dance, Shabu Dance, etc.
The prolific culture of Chail is enriched with the multitudinous local and national festivals celebrated here with unrestrained passion and fervor. Some of the most noteworthy festivals celebrated at Chail include Baisakhi, Bhoj Fair, Lavi Fair, Lohri, Sipi Fair, Diwali, Navaratri, Christmas, Rhyali Festival, Shimla Summer Festival, etc.
Baisakhi, celebrated on the first day of the month of Baisakh is the harvest festival that marks the end of winter and the onset of the harvest season. Baisakhi is also reckoned by other titles such as ‘Bissu’ or ‘Bisha’.
Bhoj Fair is a three days carnival that is organized in the month of November in the honor of Lord Bansor.
Lavi Fair is celebrated in the memory of the mutual trade treaty signed between Tibet and the former Bushahr State. At the time of the Lavi Fair a number of cultural shows are performed and small-scale business amongst the shepherds and other locals is encouraged.
Lohri celebrated in the month of January marks the beginning of the sowing season when the first Rabi crop is sown.
Sipi Fair is celebrated at Sihpur in the month of May/June in the honor of a deity named Sip Devta. Archery competitions, acrobats, magic shows, jugglers, and many other cultural programs are organized at the time of Sipi Fair.
Rhyali Festival is celebrated during the monsoon season to appease the Rain Gods so that a good crop is cultivated by their blessings. Celebrated from the first day of the Hindu month Shravana, Rhyali Festival marks the official commencement of monsoon. The head of the family or the family priest sows the seeds of five to seven different crops in a small basket. A day before the festival, a mock wedding is performed symbolizing the nuptial of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. Clay statues of the deities are placed near the baskets holding the newly grown saplings. The deities are offered various fruits and flowers.
Shimla Summer Festival is held in the month of May every year when various talent hunt competitions, sports tournaments, flower shows, local music and dance concerts, cultural performances by school children, photography & poster-making competitions, fashion show, etc are held.