Himachal Pradesh, the northern Indian state is home to scenic mountain towns and resorts. It is renowned for its natural beauty, hill stations, and temples. Many hydroelectric projects have been set up here due to the perennial river's flow. Tourism, agriculture, and hydroelectric power projects are important parts of the state’s economy. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Himachal Pradesh has been ruled by many kingdoms like Gupta kingdom, Delhi sultanate, Rajputs, Mughals, Kingdom of Nepal, British, etc., and has witnessed multiple waves of human migration from other areas. Many tribes such as the Koili, Hali, Dagi, Dhaugri, Dasa, Khasa, Kinnar, and Kirat inhabited the region from the prehistoric era. The growth and economy of the state are dependent on tourism. Beautiful Himalayan landscapes attract tourists from all over the world.
The state has many important pilgrimage centers with prominent Hindu temples. Himachal handicrafts are renowned around the world. The leather works, Kullu shawls, Chamba rumals, carpets, Kangra paintings, and woodwork are some of the aesthetic handicrafts that belong to this tiny hill state. One of the highly in-demand products is the Pashmina shawl. Local music and dance reflect the cultural identity of the state. The wool weaving is necessitated by the extremely cold winters of the Himachal. Almost every household in Himachal owns a pit-loom. Both men and women have acquired the skill of weaving. The weaving is done in the month of winter when all are inside the home, and all other activities such as horticulture have been completed. Wool is also considered as pure and is used as a ritual cloth. The well-known woven object is the shawl. Kullu is famous for its shawls with geometrical patterns and bright colours.
A device used to weave fabric for clothes and tapestry is called Loom. Every region and location has a different Loom and its working mechanisms, but the basic function is the same. The basic purpose of using any loom is to hold the warp threads in tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads to create fabric. The looms contain various parts which serve a different purpose, which all put together compromises a loom. One of the parts of the Loom is the REED, which is locally known as “Kanghi”. Reed resembles a comb, which is used to push the weft yarn securely into place as it is woven. It also separates the warp threads, holds them in their positions, keeps them untangled, and guides the shuttle as it moves across the Loom. Modern reeds are made by placing flattened strips of wire (made of carbon or stainless steel) between two half-round ribs of wood and binding the whole together with tarred string. Historically reeds were made of canes. Mr. Bhime Ram from Kullu is still making traditional type reeds known locally as Kanghi. The past three generations of his family are doing this work. Now let’s see how a conventional kanghi is made.