[Himachal GK] Gaddis

The main tracts in which the Gaddi live are Lil Bill, Tundah, Holly, Brahmour, Kurt and Chhatrari.
In the past the Gaddi played an important role in the cultural and religious activities of Chamba state.
During the coronation of the king of Chamba state, one full day was earmarked for Gaddi ceremonies. One delegate from each of the above tracts used to be present on important state occasions.

Most of the tracts in which the Gaddis live are still very remote and it may require a day's walk to reach the road-head. At times, high passes have to be crossed.

The Gaddis are primarily the worshippers of Lord Shiva, who is worshipped on most religious occasions. A locally made mild beverage is used for dedication to the Lord. Local deities are also served and worshipped by them.

This community has its own dancing style, which is closely related to the ceremony for worshipping Lord Shiva known as Narwhal. Men and women usually dance separately, though the basic rhythm and style of dancing is the same. There are local variations of this form of dancing and in the recent past it has also been influenced by other dancing styles of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Singing of traditional songs is another remarkable feature of the social and cultural life of the Gaddis. Usual themes include their religion and way of life.

Traditionally the social stratification amongst the Gaddis was that each social group held land by virtue of their place in the hierarchy. The hierarchy includes the nobles, priests, warriors, peasants or small land holders and artisans. They gave free service to the king for a right to work on the land.

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