Uttarakhand’s diverse ethnicities have created a rich literary tradition in languages including Hindi, Kumaoni, Garhwali, Jaunsari, and Bhotiya. Many of its traditional tales originated in the form of lyrical ballads and chanted by itinerant singers and are now considered classics of Hindi literature. Ganga Prasad Vimal, Manohar Shyam Joshi, Shekhar Joshi, Shailesh Matiyani, Shivani, Mohan Upreti, and Jnanpith awardee Sumitranandan Pant are some major literary figures from the region. Prominent philosopher and environmental activist Vandana Shiva is also from Uttarakhand.
The dances of the region are connected to life and human existence and exhibit myriad human emotions. Langvir nritya is a dance form for males that resembles gymnastic movements. Barada nati folk dance is another famous dance of Dehradun, which is practised during some religious festivals. Other well-known dances include hurka baul, jhumaila, chauphula, and chholiya.Music is an integral part of the Uttarakhand culture. Popular types of folk songs include mangals, basanti, khuded and chhopati. These folk songs are played on instruments including dhol, damaun, turri, ransingha, dholki, daur, thali, bhankora, mandan and masakbaja. Music is also used as a medium through which the gods are invoked. Jaagar is a form of ghost worship in which the singer, or jagariya, sings a ballad of the gods, with allusions to great epics, like Mahabharat and Ramayana, that describe the adventures and exploits of the god being invoked. Narendra Singh Negi is a popular singer of the region.