People of Garhwal
Garhwal is a region who comprises of people of various communities It constitutes immigrant Brahmin, Khasi Brahmin, Thakur Rajput, Khai Rajput, Kols, Doms and others. People like Kols or koltas are the original inhabitants of Garhwal. They are believed to be of pre-Dravidian origin. The Kols or Koltas are dark complexioned people and in the bygone ages lived in the forests of Garhwal by hunting and food gathering. Later on, they made small clearings and settled down. They worshipped demons and goblins and later on also Nag and Narsingha.The Rajputs of Garhwal are believed to be of Aryan origin. They came as waves of settlers either from the south or from the adjoining tracts of Himachal Pradesh, where they had come from the Hindu Kush through Kashmir. Later Rajput settlers to Garhwal aIso came from Rajasthan to escape from the invasions of the Muslims/Mughals.There are other castes like Jaunsaris of Jaunsar-Bawar, Jadhs of Uttarkashi, Marchas of Chamoli (Mana and Niti valleys), Van Gujars The Bhotias are businessmen and born mountaineers. The Bhotias of Uttarakhand claim descent from the Rajputs, who came from Kumaon and Garhwal and settled in the higher valleys.The Bhotias are to be found all along the Tibetan border from Nepal in the east to Uttarkashi in the west. Garhwal region consists of people who have different dresses. The languages spoken by the people slightly differ in their accent in the upper and lower hills. Similarly food taken by the people of Garhwal is somewhat different in every region.There are generally division of people who are either living in upper hilly areas, lower regions and middle regions.The People living in the higher or main Himalayan ranges belong to this dietary regime. Their diet is meat based. For preserving the meat for the winter season, it is cut into small pieces and left to dry in the sun.Wine is also consumed by these people in large quantities. They eat coarse grains like barley and mandua. The richer people are able to purchase wheat, rice and pulses.
People living in the middle Himalayan ranges of Garhwal belong to this dietary regime. Their diet is both meat and vegetable based. The people eat coarse grains like barley, mandua and jhangora. In the recent past, more and more people of this tract have taken to cereals like wheat, rice and pulses.People living in the lower hill, dun valleys and Siwaliks of Garhwal belong to this dietary regime. They are both non-vegetarian and vegetarian. The main cereals eaten by the people of this tract are wheat, rice and pulses, which are cultivated on a large scale.There is distinct style of hill temple architectures. Garhwali people believe in snake worship.They have settled in many interior valleys of Garhwal.
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