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For the people of Kumaon see Kumauni People

Spoken in Kumaon
Total speakers 2,360,000 (1998)[1]
Language family Indo-European
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2
ISO 639-3 kfy

The Kumaoni (कुमाँऊनी) are a people of the Kumaon Division of Uttarakhand, a region in the Indian Himalayas. Their Kumaoni language(कुमाँऊनी) forms the Central subgroup of the Pahari languages.

Kumaoni is one of the 325 recognized Indian languages [2], and is spoken by over 2,360,000 (1998) people of Indian states of Uttarakhand - Almora, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Champawat, Rudrapur (Udhamsingh Nagar) districts; Assam; Bihar; Delhi; Madhya Pradesh; Maharashtra and Punjab, besides being spoken in some regions of Himachal Pradesh and Nepal. [3]

Amongst its dialects, the Central Kumauni is spoken in Almora and northern Nainital, Northeastern Kumauni is in Pithoragarh, Southeastern Kumauni is in Southeastern Nainital, Western Kumauni is west of Almora and Nainital [4].

UNESCO’s Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger designates Kumaoni as language in the unsafe category and which requires consistent conservation efforts. [5]


Dialects of Kumaon region

In all, there are 20 dialects spoken in the Kumaon region, including, Johari, Majh Kumaiya, Danpuriya, Askoti, Sirali, Soryali, Chaugarkhyali, Kumaiya, Gangola, Khasparjia, Phaldakoti, Pachhai, and Rauchaubhaisi [6]. [2]


Dialects of Kumaoni Language

  • Central Pahari
    • Kali Kumaon, Central Kumaoni [1]
    • North-Eastern Kumaoni
    • South-Eastern Kumaoni
    • Western Kumaoni
    • Askoti of Askot
    • Bhabhri of Rampur [3]
    • Chaugarkhiyali of Chaugarkha
    • Danpuriya of Danpur
    • Gangoli of Ganai-Gangoli
    • Johari of Malla and Talla Johar
    • Khasparjiya of Almora
    • Kumaiyya
    • Pachhai of Pali-Pachhhau
    • Pashchimi
    • Phaldakotiya of Phaldkot
    • Rhau-Chaubyansi Upper Himalayan Byans and Rau Valleys
    • Sirali of Sirakot
    • Soriyali of Sor Valley (Pithoragarh)
    • Baitada of Baitadi-Darchula area of Nepal and area of Pithoragarh District
    • Dotiyali of Dadeldhura and Doti district of Nepal

Note: Baitada Dialect and Askoti Dialect are almost similar dialect.

Spoken in Upper Reaches of Kumaon Himalayas.

Kumaoni literature

Kumaoni language has had many note worthy writers, prominent among them are

  • Gumani Pant
  • Gourda
  • Shailesh Matiyani (1931-2001)
  • Mohan Upreti (1925-1997)
  • Sher Singh Bisht reknowed as Sherda Anpad
  • Jeevan Chandra Joshi 'Jeevan Barbajyu'
  • Dr. Ramesh Chandra Shah
  • Puran Chandra Joshi
  • Gyan Pant
  • Devki Nandan Kandpal
  • Dr.Deepa Kandpal
  • Dr.Dev Singh Pokhariya
  • Himanshu Joshi
  • Damodar Joshi 'Dewanshu'
  • Bansidhar Pathak 'Jigyashu'
  • Dr.Prayag Joshi
  • Dr.Diwa Bhatt
  • Bahadur Bora 'Sribandhu'
  • Dr.Sher Singh Bisht
  • Shekhar Joshi
  • Mathura Dutt Mathpal
  • Rajendra Bora
  • Jagdish Joshi
  • Naveen Joshi
  • Dr.Yogendra Prasad Joshi 'Nawal'
  • Navin Joshi 'Navendu'
  • Hayat Singh Rawat
  • Mahendra Matiyani
  • Jugal Kishor Petshali
  • Charu Chandra Pandey
  • Balam Singh Janouti
  • Kailash Chandra Lohani
  • Gopal Dutt Bhatt
  • Parvati Upreti
  • Mohammal Ali Ajnabi
  • Devki Parvtiya
  • Veena Pani Joshi
  • Ghananand Pandey
  • Mohan Ram Tamta 'Mohan Kumaouni'
  • M.D. Andola
  • Deepak Karki
  • Anil Bhoj
  • Uday Kiroula
  • Girish Tiwari 'Girda'
  • Narayal Singh Bisht
  • Sher Singh Mehra 'Kumaoni'
  • Shemual Madho Singh
  • Surender Singh Bisht (newal) (Jhargow) Marchula
  • Karam Singh Bhandari

Kumaoni in Media


  • 'Megha Aa', (First Kumaoni Film) [7]. Director Kaka Sharma, Produced S S Bisht, 1987 [8]
  • 'Teri Saun', (First film both in Kumaoni and Garhwali) [9], written, produced, and directed by Anuj Joshi [10], 2003.
  • 'Aapun Biraan' (Apne Paraye) by Shri Kartikey Cine Productions. Produced By Bhaskar Singh Rawat. 2007. Cell No. -> 9412044393.
  • 'Madhuli' by Anamika Film, 2008 [11].


Kumaoni theatre which developed through its 'Ramleela' plays[12], later evolved into a modern theatre form with the efforts of theatre stalwarts like Mohan Upreti and Dinesh Pandey, and groups like 'Parvatiya Kala Kendra' (started by Mohan Upreti) and 'Parvatiya Lok Kala Manch'.


Kumaoni folk music had its root in the lap of nature. The pure and blessed music have the feel and the touch of nature and subjects related to nature. The folk music primarily is related to the various festivals, religious traditions, folk stories and simple life of the people of Kumaon. Thus the songs of Kumaoni are a true reflection of the Cultural Heritage and the way people lives their lives in the Himalayas.

There are many kinds of folk songs from the area, including ceremonial mandals, martial panwaras and melancholy khuded, thadya and jhoda.

Musical instruments used in Kumaon music include the dhol, damoun, turri, ransingha, dholki, daur, thali, bhankora and masakbhaja. Tabla and harmonium are also used, but to a lesser extent.

The Music and its development have seen various phases of growth and have undergone lots of transformation during the course of time.

The earliest of the singers who left never ending impressions on the folk music of Kumaon were :

1.The most famous personality associated with Kumaoni Folk Music is Mohan Upreti, who is known for his Nanda Devi Jagar & Rajula Malu Shahi Ballad.

He is famous for the great Kumaoni song Bedu Pako Baro Masa which for many years the identity of the hills of Uttarakahand. It is said this song was also a favourite of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru who heard it in a band march as this song is also apopular marching song.

2. Shri Gopal Babu Goswami who is considered to be a legend in Kumaon for his melodious voice.

His songs on the life of the members of the armed forces and their families like Kaile baje muruli , Ghughuti na basa and many others are legendary, it is said that when these songs were transmitted on All India Radio women with their husbands could not help but weep when they heard the soul touching voice of Gopal Da as he was lovingly called.

3. Heera Singh Rana is identified as a singer and asocial activist whose songs tell the tale of the pain of the people of the hills .

Some of the hit songs / albums being Fauji Lalit Mohan Joshi's "Maya Ki Yaad", "Tak Taka Kamla" and many other hit albums / songs


  • With the aim to create a common platform for local communities of Supi in Uttarakhand, TERI launched 'Kumaon vani', a community radio service on March 11, 2010. Uttarakhand Governor Margaret Alva inaugurated the community radio station, the first in the state. The 'Kumaon Vani' aims to air programmes on environment, agriculture, culture, weather and education in the local language and with the active participation of the communities. The radio station covers a radius of 10 kms reaching out to almost 2000 locals around Mukhteshwar[13]
  • Trans World Radio (USA) - 7320 Hz (Shortwave) [14]

Further reading

  • Devidatta Sarma; Linguistic geography of Kumaun Himalayas: A descriptive areal distribution of Kumauni language (Studies in Tibeto-Himalayan languages). Mittal Publications; 1994. ISBN 8170995299.
  • Devidatta Sarma; The formation of Kumauni language (SILL : series in Indian languages and linguistics). Bahri Publications; 1985. ISBN 8170340055.
  • Taran- Sampadak Balam Singh Janouti
  • Byan Tar-Sampadak Anil Bhoj & Deepak Karki
  • Aankhar- Sampadak Banshidhar Pathak 'Jigyashu'
  • Dudboli-Sampadak Mathura Datt Mathpal
  • Sisoun by Banshidhar Pathak 'Jigyashu'
  • Ukav-Hular by Dr.Ramesh Chandra Shah
  • Kudrat-Kumaoni Kavita Sangrah (1969) by Damodar Joshi 'Dewanshu'
  • Pakhan-Kumaoni Kavita Sangrah (1994) by Damodar Joshi 'Dewanshu'
  • Gadyanjali-First Kumaoni Gadya Sangrah (1999) by Damodar Joshi 'Dewanshu'
  • Shikhar-Kumaoni Kavita Sangrah (2002) by Damodar Joshi 'Dewanshu'
  • Anwar-First Kumaoni Kahani Sangrah (2004) by Damodar Joshi 'Dewanshu'
  • Aapani Panyar-First Kumaoni Natak Sangrah (2006) by Damodar Joshi 'Dewanshu'
  • Bharat Mata by Dr. Sher Singh Bisht
  • Ija by Dr. Sher Singh Bisht
  • Kachuvain by M.D.Andola
  • Dhartik Kakhin by M.D.Andola
  • Pachhyan by Dr. Diva Bhatt & Bahadur Bora 'Sribandhu'
  • Kumaoni-Hindi Lokokti evan Muhavara Kosh by Dr. Deepa Kandpal
  • Baanj Gharak Pahru, Raaf, Kasak by Dr.Dev Singh Pokharia
  • Kweer kumaoni Gadya Sangrah by Hayat Singh Rawat
  • Dhad by Hayat Singh Rawat
  • Burunsh - Kumaoni Kavya Sangrah
  • Jangdi Ujyay - Kumaoni Kavya Sangrah
  • Mansup Kumaoni Kavya Sangrah by Deepak Karki
  • Kumaoni Shrimad Bhagvat Geeta by Dr. Yogendra Joshi 'Nawal'
  • Teen Thoon- Kumaoni Kahani Sangrah by Dr. Yogendra Joshi 'Nawal'


  1. ^ a b Kumaoni Language Indian languages at indianetzone.
  2. ^ INDIA LANGUAGES Indian Languages at hindikids.
  3. ^ Nepal Language
  4. ^ KUMAUNI: a language of India Ethonologue Report of Language code.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Kumaoni Language 'G.A. Grierson', Dialects of Kumaon at paharishabdkosh.
  7. ^ Kumaoni Cinema Pahari Shabdkosh.
  8. ^ First Kumaoni Film Bollywood Sargam.
  9. ^ The Times of IndiaTeri Saun, 10 May 2003.
  10. ^ Film set in 1994 Uttarakhand Movement Nandadevi Campaign.
  11. ^ MaduhliKumaoni Films at uttarakhandandbeyond.
  12. ^ Indian Traditions Theatre at iloveindia.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Shortwave Language lists KUM Kumaoni/Kumauni.

See also

External links


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