The people living in the inner dry valleys of Garhwal are mainly
Hindus, although followers of other religions such as Sikhism, Buddhism,
Christianity and Islam are also present.
These people worship the local or village deity along with Durga
and Shiva. They celebrate all religious occasions that are followed
by Hindus living in other parts of India.
The population living in this region is also superstitious and has
a firm belief in spirits and other supernatural powers.
Gods and Goddesses
Nanda Devi is the patron Goddess of both Kumaon and Garhwal. Known
since ancient times as Uttarakhand, the combined terrain between
Nepal's western border and the Tons River has featured prominently
in the Puranas (Hindu scriptures) as the playground of the gods.
Her idols are worshipped in villages and taken out in large processions
during certain parts of the year. Also, there are many other gods
and goddesses worshipped in different villages.
Almost all hill provinces claim to be "dev bhumi" -- the land sacred
to the deities of Hinduism. But Garhwal is the only region that
can truly claim to be so. One reason is that Garhwal possesses the
"char dham", the quartet of sacred Himalayan shrines. Moreover,
the sacred Ganga river flows exclusively through Garhwal before
descending to the plains.