|— district —|
|• Total||7,110 km2 (2,750 sq mi)|
|• Density||69/km2 (180/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Telephone code||91 5964|
Pithoragarh district (Hindi: पिथौरागढ़ जिला) is the easternmost Himalayan district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is naturally landscaped with high Himalayan mountains, snow capped peaks, passes, valleys, alpine meadows, forests, waterfalls, perennial rivers, glaciers, and springs. The flora and fauna of the area have rich ecological diversity. Pithoragarh has many temples and ruined forts from the once flourishing reign of the Chand Kings.
The geographical area of the district is 7,110 km2 (2,750 sq mi). As of the 2011 census[update], the total population of the district is 485,993. The total literacy rate is 82.93 percent. Pithoragarh town, which is located in Saur Valley (Hindi: सोर), is its headquarters. The district is within the Kumaon division (Hindi: कुमाऊं) of Uttarakhand state. The Tibet plateau is situated to the north and Nepal is to the east. The Kali River originates from Kalapaani and flows south, forming the eastern border with Nepal. The Hindu pilgrimage route for Mount Kailash-Lake Manasarovar passes through this district via Lipulekh Pass in the greater Himalayas. The district is administratively divided into five tehsils: Munsiyari; Dharchula; Didihat; Gangolihat; and Pithoragarh. Naini Saini Airport is the nearest civil airport, but it does not have regular scheduled commercial passenger service. The mineral deposits present in the district are magnesium ore, copper ore, limestone, and slate.
Brief history 
Pals (Katyuri kings) 
After its conquest by Bhartpal, the Rajwar of Uku (now in Nepal), in the year 1364, Pithoragarh was ruled for the rest of the 14th century by three generations of Pals, and the kingdom extended from Pithoragarh to Askot.
Bam Dynasty 
According to a tamrapatra (inscribed copper or brass plaque) from 1420, the Pal dynasty, based out of Askot, was uprooted by Chand kings. Vijay Brahm (of the Brahm dynasty from Doti) took over the empire as King. Following the death of Gyan Chand, in a conflict with Kshetra Pal, the Pals were able to regain the throne.
Chand Dynasty 
It is believed that Bhartichand, an ancestor of Gyan Chand, had replaced Bams, the ruler of Pithoragarh, after defeating them in 1445. In the 16th century, the Chand dynasty again took control over Pithoragarh town and, in 1790, built a new fort on the hill where the present Girls Inter College is situated. This fort was destroyed by the Indian government in 1962 after China attacked India.[why?]
The Chand rule, at its zenith, is seen as one of the most prominent empires in Kumaoun. Their rule also coincides with a period of cultural resurgence. Archeological surveys point towards the development of culture and art forms in this period.
The present King of Kumaon is Raja Mahendra Chand of Lamakhet (Pithoragarh), married to Rani Gita Chand of Rina and has three children (Rajkumari Aakanksha Chand, Rajkumari Mallika Chand, Rajkumar Aryan Chand).
British Rule 
British rule began on 2 Dec 1815, when Nepal was forced to sign the Sugauli Treaty. Pithoragarh remained a Tehsil under Almora district until 1960 when it's status was elevated to that of a district. There was an army cantonment, a Church, and a Mission school, resulting in the spread of Christianity in the region.
Modern Pithoragarh 
In 1997, part of Pithoragarh district was separated to form the new Champawat district.
Kumaoni, with its numerous variations, is the most widely spoken language. The language is written in Devanagari script. The Bhotiya tribe speak a dialect called Beyansi (also known as Bhotia or Hunia), which is a language of the Tibeto-Burman family. The Van Rawat tribe speaks their own unique Kumaoni variant.
Pithoragarh town, being in a valley, is relatively warm during summer and cool during winter. During the coldest months of December and January, the tropical and temperate mountain ridges and high locations receive snowfall and have an average temperature of 5.5–8.0 °C (42–46 °F). Pithoragarh district has extreme variation in temperature due to the large variations in altitude. The temperature rises from mid-March through mid-June. The areas above 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) remain in a permanent snow cover. Regions lying at 3,000–3,500 metres (9,800–11,500 ft) become snow bound for four to six months. At places like the river gorges at Dharchula, Jhulaghat, Ghat and Sera, temperatures reach 40 °C (104 °F). The annual average rainfall is 36.7 centimetres (14.4 in).. ISBN 8170998980. Missing or empty
|title= (help) After June the district receives monsoon showers. Winter is a time for transhumance – the seasonal migration of the Bhotiya tribe with their herds of livestock to lower, warmer areas.
- Winter (cold weather): December–March
- Summer (hot weather): March–June
- Season of general rains: North–West monsoon – mid-June to mid-September
- Season of retreating monsoon: September–November
According to the 2011 census Pithoragarh district has a population of 485,993, roughly equal to the nation of Suriname. This gives it a ranking of 546th among the 640 Districts of India. The district has a population density of 69 inhabitants per square kilometre (180 /sq mi) . Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 5.13%. Pithoragarh has a sex ratio of 1021 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 82.93%.
Native tribes in the district include the Van Rawats and Bhotiya (an exonym). Van Rawats are hunter-gatherers. Bhotiyas are traders. In Pithoragarh, the Bhotiya are divided into two main tribes – Johari Shauka and Rung. The Johari Shauka community inhabits the areas in Munsiyari while Rung tribe are spread among the three valleys of Darma, Chaundas, and Byans. Kandali Festival, celebrated once every 12 years by inhabitants of Chaundas Valley, is one of the major festivals in this area.
Glaciers of Pithoragarh 
Locally, glaciers are known as Gal. Some important glaciers of the district are as follows:
- Milam Glacier
- Namik Glacier
- Ralam Glacier
- Meola Glacier
- Sona Glacier
- Panchchuli Glacier
- Balati Glacier
- Shipu Glacier
- Rula Glacier
- Kalabaland Glacier
- Lawan Glacier
- Bamlas Glacier
- Baldimga Glacier
- Terahar Glacier
- Poting Glacier
- Talkot Glacier
- Sankalpa Glacier
- Lassar Glacier
- Dhauli Glacier
- Baling Golfu Glacier
- Dhauli Glacier
- Sobla Tejam Glacier
- Kali Glacier
- Kuti Glacier
- Yangti Basin Glacier
Himalayan peaks of Pithoragarh 
|Nanda Devi East||7,434|
|Suitilla (Suj Tilla West)||6,374|
|Suj Tilla East||6,393|
|Jonglingkong or Baba Kailash||6,191|
Mountain passes of Pithoragarh 
International passes to Tibet 
Intra-district Himalayan passes 
|Kungri Bhingri La||5,564|
|Unta Dhura pass|
Valleys of Pithoragarh 
- Daramaganga or Darma valley
- Goriganga valley
- Kali valley
- Kuthi valley
- Lassar Yangti valley
- Ralam valley
- Kuthi Yangti valley
- Johar Valley
- Kalabaland valley
- Byans valley
- Chaudans valley
- Saur valley
Waterfalls of Pithoragarh 
A wide variety of flora exist in the district, including many unique sub-tropical, temperate, and alpine plants. Bryophytes (mosses), pteridophytes (ferns), gymnosperms (conifers), and angiosperms (flowering plants) are present. Rare varieties of orchids are also present in the high-altitude valleys of Milan, Darma, Beyans, and Kuthi. Species present include:
- Myrica esculenta (Kafal)
- Saussurea obvallata (Brahm Kamal)
- Zanthoxylum armatum (Timur)
- Berberis aristata (Kirmod)
- Saussurea simpsonia
- Rhododendron campanulatum
- Rubus ellipticus (Hisalu)
- Rhododendron barbatum (Burans)
- Cypripedium cordigerum
- Dendrobium normale
- Vanda cristata
- Prunus puddum
- Prunus cornuta
- Pedicularis punctata
- Quercus incana
- Quercus leucotricophora (Banjh)
- Quercus semicarpifolia
- Quercus dilatata
- Pinus roxburghii (Salla or Chir)
- Pinus wallichiana (Blue Pine or Raisalla)
- Cedrus deodara (Deodar Cedar)
- Taxus wallichiana (Himalayan yew)
- Abies pindrow
- Aconitum heterophyllum
- Betula utilis (Himalayan birch or Bhoj Patra)
- Nardostachys grandiflora (Jatmasi)
- Picrorhiza kurroa (Kutki)
- Himalyan pears
- Green apples
- Red apples
- Yellow plums
- 10–15 kinds of cactus
- Different type of pulses like red and green lentils
- Soy beans
- Rye seeds (a staple of the Pahadi people)
Tourist places 
- Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary
Dharchula is a nagar panchayat in Pithoragarh district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. Dharchula is a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. An ancient trading town for the trans-Himalayan trade routes, it is covered by high mountains and is situated on the banks of the river Kali. Dharchula is about 90 km far away from Pithoragarh and it lies on the route to the Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage tour. The town is virtually split between India and Nepal near the border with Tibet. The Indian side of the town is known as Dharchula whereas its Nepalese counterpart is known as Darchula.
Didihat, 54 km from Pithoragarh, is a beautiful place with lush natural beauty. Clear view of Himalaya is observed from this place, especially Panchchuli range. Famous for ancient Shira-kot Temple of Lord Malay Nath, built by Reka Kings. Nearby, ten km away from here Narayan Swamy Ashram at Narayan Nager is situated.
- Patal Bhubaneshwar
It is a place 77 km from Pithoragarh at Gangolihat, famous for an ancient Temple of Goddess Kali-Mother Deity of Indian Army's Kumaon Regiment. Hatkalika Temple was established by Sankaracharya as a Mahakali Shakti Peeth at Gangolihat. At a distance of 14 km from Gangolihat, there is a village located in Tehsil Didihat, named Bhubneshwar, where beautiful underground cave of Patal Bhubaneshwar, the subterranean shrine of Lord Shiva is situated with sprawling interiors exist. Limestone rock formations have created various spectacular stalactite and stalagmite figures. This cave has narrow tunnel like opening which leads to a number of caves. The cave is fully electrically illuminated.
Fifteen kilometres from Pithoragarh near Totanaula, there is a mountain called Dhwaj, elevation 2134 m. It is an abode of Goddess Jayanti or Durga and Lord Shiva, atop the hill. Hindu legends tells that at this place 'Chanda and Munda' demons were killed by Devi. Dense forest about the mountain is considered sacred and sacrosanct, so it is in an excellent state of conserved biome with a large number of endemic plants.
This is a significant trading centre bordering Nepal and 68 km from Pithoragarh. Situated at the confluence of rivers Gori and Kali, it turns into a lively fairground annually. In the fair Bhotiya tribes use to sell their woolen articles. A hanging rope bridge across Kali links this place to Nepal. From Jauljibi tribal country of the district actually begins.
- Rai Gufa
This cave provides an excellent example of queer limestone deposits and situated near Pithoragarh.
Munsiyari is situated in the northern part of the Pithoragarh district, distance is 124 km. This small town is located at the foot of the main Himalayan peaks, which are covered with snow throughout the year. Munsiyari is in base for the track routes to Milam Glacier, Ralam Glacier, and Namik Glacier, at the base of majestic Himalayan peak Trishuli (7,074 m). This place is also famous for Munshiyari Bugyal, an alpine meadow. Alpine lakes of Maheshwari Kund and Thamri Kund are around Munsiyari. The valley from Munsiyari to Milam is known as Johar Valley.
Madkot, 22 km from Munsiyari, has hot water springs which are supposed to cure rheumatism, arthritis and skin ailments.
- Adi-Kailash (Chhota Kailash)
At an altitude of 6,191 M on Indo Tibet border in High Himalayas in Bhotiya country, Adi-Kailash (Chhota Kailash) or Baba Kailash is situated. Trekking from Tawaghat to Jollingkong one can reach here. On the way at Navidhang sacred Hindu peak named Om Parvat, elevation 6,191 M, is visible.
- Narayan Ashram
A beautiful Ashram established by Narayan Swamy at Sausa near Pangu in 1936, on a way to Lipu Lekh, is full of wild flowers and rare varieties of fruits and number of waterfalls. The Ashram was primarily made to help Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrims. The ashram have been engaged in socio-spiritual works.
- Kailash Mansarover Yatra
The famous Hindu pilgrimage tour to Kailash-Mansarover passes through the district. From Mangti pilgrims have to move on foot.
It is set atop a hill on the outskirts of the town. The fort was built by the Gorkhas in 1789. The fort is currently used as a girls school.
- Kapileshwar Mahadev
The cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva affords fine view of the Saur valley and lofty Himalayan peaks. This temple is three kilometres from Pithoragarh.
- Thal Kedar
This ancient Shiva Temple is also known for its scenic splendour. During the annual fair of Maha Shivratri large number of devotees and pilgrims flock here. Situated at 16 km from Pithoragarh.
This small town on the banks of river Kali at Indo-Nepal border is named after a hanging rope bridge across the Kali river. Previously it was called 'Juaghat'. Cross-border trade with Nepal takes place through this bridge.
A beautiful place, 7 km from Pithoragarh, at an altitude of 6,000 feet (1,830 m), one can see panoramic and breath-taking view of the Pithoragarh Saur Valley, from here. According to legends it is a place where demon 'Chandghat' was killed by Goddess Durga.
- Chhipla Kedar
Chipla Kedar is 34 km from Tawaghat situated 4626 meters (15,177 ft) above sea level. Very scenic and beautiful. An excellent place for trekkers.
A small town located 102 km from Pithoragarh, Berinag is famous for its natural beauty and sprawling tea gardens at an altitude of 2010 m. Berinag is place from where Himalayan snow-clad peaks can be viewed. The area has a number of Nag (snake) temples of Dhaurinag, Feninag, Kalinag, Bashukinag, Pinglenag, and Harinag. Other tourist spots are Tripura Devi Temple, Cave Temple of Koteshwar, Garaun waterfalls, and Musk Deer Farm at Kotmanya. The Berinag is named after the Nagveni King Benimadhava.
A small village between Chaukori and Patal Bhuvanshwar, it was an erstwhile tea estate and is at an altitude of 2100 meters to 2600 meters asl. There is an old Shive temple at the top of the mountain known as Lamkeshwar mahadev, it is an upcoming offbeat destination for tourists interested in nature, himalayan views and birding. The village is surrounded on three sides by fabulous mixed forests and has the widest range of Himalayan views in Kumaon and a vibrant flora and fauna. The only place to stay here is The Misty Mountains retreat.
Probably the perfect tourist destination to have full panaromic view of snow capped Himalayan peaks in Pithoragarh. It is situated 10 km from Berinag and has an altitude of 2010 m. This place is also famous for tea gardens and orchards.
Belkot is a small village in Pithoragarh District, around 10 km from Berinag. Located on the foothills of the Kumaon Himalayas, it is known for its salubrious climate and is home to the famed Bhagwati Temple.
Surrounded by Kalinag, Sundarinag and Dhaulinag, Thal is situated on the bank of the Ramganga river. Thal Valley has its own history main attractions are ancient temple of Lard Shiva and Ek Hathia Devalaya (temple carved by one stone and by one person in a single night). Gaucher is a nice place which is 2 miles (3.2 km) away from Thal market in route of Munsiyari and Kailash Manas Sarovar. Hajeti is the perfect place to capture the beauty of Thal valley on foothills of mighty Himalayas.
Skiing ranges 
- Khalia Top
High altitude meadow with gentle slope, located 7 km from Munsiyari.
- Betuli Dhar
It is one of the best ski range of Pithoragarh. It is a high altitude alpine meadow with ideal slopes and is situated at a distance of 5 km from Munsiyari.
Situated at an altitude of 3090 m near Baram on Jauljibi-Munsiyari road. This place provides an ideal skiing settings.
Lakes of Pithoragarh 
Folk lore and dances 
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Pithoragarh district|
- History of Kumaun by B D Pandey.
- Across Peaks and Passes of Kumaun Himalayas by Harish Kapadia.
|Almora district||Champawat district||Nepal|