Introduction / History Located among the mountainous regions of the Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh in north India are the Kinnauri. Today the Kinnaur region can be divided into Upper Kinnaur, Central Kinnaur and Lower Kinnaur, with the Kinnauri living mostly in the Central and Lower regions. Approximately 85,000 in number, the Kinnauri are small-scale commercial agriculturalists known for their prized cashews, apricots, grapes, and apples. Traditionally they are also known as skilled weavers in producing intricately designed shawls as well as carpets and blankets.
The Kinnauri religion is characterized by a blend of traditional religion colored by Hindu and Buddhist influences. While Lower Kinnaur is predominately Hindu, Buddhist influence increases as one travels north. This blend of beliefs creates a complex pantheon of numerous deities with accompanying religious ceremonies. Education in the Kinnaur district is government funded. While a fairly established government funded education system is in place, the medium is in Hindi a major language of India. The Kinnauri, however, speak a very different language than Hindi and desire literature in their mother tongue.