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close this bookIndigenous Technology Knowledge for Watershed Management in upper North-West Himalayas of India (PWMTA, 1998)
close this folderChapter 8 - Weather forecasting
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View the documentHistory of indigenous rain making
View the documentITK for weather prediction
View the documentSocial and cultural beliefs

Social and cultural beliefs

Many cultural, social and religious beliefs and activities superstitious pertaining to the prediction of future weather prevail since generations. From time immemorial farmers have predicted the weather on the basis of these beliefs/activities. The following are some examples from the western Himalayana region.

- If the first 10-15 of the month "Jeth" (May-June) are very hot then good rainfall/monsoon is predicted during the ensuing rainy season. This results probably from the low pressure zone in north-west India that is generated due to the high temperatures.

- The Soolini Mela (Festival) is organised in Solan, during the month of June every year. People of this area firmly believe that rainfall will occur on the very day of the festival or one day before or day after the festival

- It is also believed, that when grey coloured clouds descend below the hill tops then they definitely cause rainfall.

- If the "Khejri" tree bears good fruit in a particular year then farmers predict good rainfall during the next rainy season and vice versa less rain is predicted in the event of a poor fruit crop.

- If the Chakkala-Belan, (rolling pin and board), used in the Kitchen, show moisture on them then within few days rainfall is expected.

- In villages elderly farmers usually carry a small bag for "Tambaku" (Tobacco) for Hukka (Smoking device). When this bag shows more moisture in the Tambakku then farmers predict rainfall within one or two days.

Some Folk-lore Regarding Weather Forecasting

The folk-lore of the popular poet Gag and his wife Bhahdari, who lived during the 17th century, regarding weather forecasting are still very popular in northern India. Some are given as under:

"When strong eastern winds blow continuously then it is estimated that the rainy season has come"

- When days are very hot and there is dew at night, then according to Gag, there are very limited chances of rainfall.

- When cloudy days are accompanied by clear nights and the eastern winds blow somewhat strongly, then according to Gag no rainfall is predicted. Thus there is accompanied by a shortage of water in ponds, rivers etc. Consequently clothes are washed using water from wells.

- When a rainbow is formed in the direction of Bengal then there will be rainfall, if not by the evening then definitely by next morning.

- During the rainy season, if a cloud appears on Friday and Saturday then rainfall is predicted either for Sunday or Monday.