The mountainous terrains around the Jim Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve suffice as the home to two of the indigenous hilly cultures videlicet Kumaoni and Garhwali.
Music and dance comprise the most essential element of these aboriginal ethnicities. Various types of group dances chiefly performed on social, religious and recreational occasions and at the time of community congregations principally revolve around different religious themes associated with Hindu Gods and Goddesses including Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna, Goddess Durga, Goddess Kali, etc. and also depict manifold episodes from the classic India epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Some of the most popular Kumaoni and Garhwali dance forms namely Dhol, Chanchari, Jhora, Chapeli, Cholia, Chunfula, Jhumaila, Devtali, Kyunki, etc are performed at weddings, harvest celebrations, melas and other recreational events. These dances mainly describe romantic tales or ancient folklores.
The Pahari Music forms of Kumaoni and Garhwali regions i.e. Chaiti, Neoli, Bairas, Hurkiya-bol, etc are absolutely enchanting and aesthetically captivating. Apart from singing, the Pahari people use an assortment of musical instruments such as trumpets, drums, bag pipes, flutes and so on. The traditional and folk Pahari music has mothered many Ragas of the Classical Music. ‘Jagariyas’ generally sing the religious songs in order to invoke particular tribal deities and seek their blessings so as to bring good luck to the entire household and community.
Kumaoni and Garhwali regions boast of their distinct folk art forms traditionally woven in the fabric of their daily life and culture. Ancient rock paintings discovered in this province indicate that art has existed here for past many centuries. Alpana is a traditional art of painting that involves painting of different motifs on floors, doorways and walls, particularly at the time of festivals for the purpose of decorations. The Alpana painting is usually made by womenfolk with hands using natural colours such as vermilion, turmeric, ochre and rice flour.
Stone sculpture, metalwork and woodcarvings are other domains these people have excelled in. You will see traditional Kumaoni houses decorated with intricately carved wooden pillars, doors and doorframes even today.