Niyogi Books recently launched an illustrated lecture based on their book In The Shadow Of The Devi Kumaon: Of A Land, A People, A Craft by Dr Manju Kak in New Delhi.

The untamed beauty of the Himalayas immediately captures our collective imagination with visions of serenity, natural splendour and mysticism. But these mountains also dictate the lives of those who live by its laws—the resilient hill dwellers, or paharis, whose work and lives are shaped by their surroundings. In the Shadow of the Devi: Kumaon details the legacy of a land, a people and a craft deeply intertwined with its environment. Manju Kak looks at this enigmatic land of Kumaon through the prism of woodcraft, unique in its aesthetic in this part of India, documenting the styles, influences and techniques used by the craftsmen of Uttarakhand, as well as Kumaoni artisans’ worldview and beliefs.

The book is beautifully complemented with photographs by award-winning Kumaoni photographer Anup Sah and Vaibhav Kaul, among others. It is also a visual delight for those who have an interest in the region. It adds to the existing knowledge on Uttarakhand, emblematic of other Indian hill states, though its focus is on Kumaon, the land that lies in the shadow of the majestic mountain Nanda Devi.



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