Aipan

A form of rangoli (as it is called in Northern parts of India), Aipan is a traditional decoration made in front of houses with a variety of ingredients like flower petals, coloured rice or flour. The most common form, however, is the design made with white rice paste over a red floor. The designs are often inspired by nature but also include a lot of geometric elements. It is practiced mainly in the state of Uttarakhand by Kumaoni women. The designs are believed to be so auspicious that they have the power to bring good luck and ward off evil, before it can enter the household. Because of its auspiciousness, some people also decorate their home temples with these traditional designs.

Aipan

Wood-carving

Travellers to the region should definitely take notice of the intricate wood carvings that have been used to decorate the many temples across the region. These are again steeped in local flavour and culture. Travellers to the region should definitely take notice of the intricate wood carvings that have been used to decorate the many temples across the region. These are steeped in local history and culture. An excellent example of the same is the carved wooden panel door at the Katarmal sun temple. The beautiful sculptures are intricately done and depict religious iconography. The sheesham carvings have survived the ravages of time since the 14th century. Wooden doors like these were traditionally used to decorate temples as well as palaces. Carved panels like these have been considered by art historians to be among the best examples of northern temple wood-carving tradition in the Himalayan region.

Wood-carving

Temple architecture paintings

Rulers in Uttarakhand have favoured the creation of big temples usually made of wood and stones and decorated with intricate carvings. Aipan (colourful patterns) designs mostly add to the beauty of these structures. The statue of the deity is mostly made of metal or stone and adorned with the best clothes and jewellery. The temples in Uttarakhand are majorly made in the Nagara style of architecture or the Garhwali style of architecture, with a striking shikhara (spire). These style of temples usually have a lotus-shaped roof and a projection of a lion standing over the elephant over the lower shikhara. The major dynasties that left their architectural imprints in the region are Katuyari, Pawar, Paun and Chand dynasties. The Kedarnath Temple is a fine example of the architectural riches of Uttarakhand. Another example is the famous Baijnath Temple that is built in the signature Nagara style, with the curvilinear spire. Built by the Katyuri rulers, the sculptures, as well as the architectural details, represent ornate patterns of that time. The temple, like many others of the time, has a pancharatha plan. 

Temple architecture paintings