A bird's eyeview of Bageshwar
|Elevation||1,004 m (3,294 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Bageshwar is a city and a municipal board in Bageshwar district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is also the administrative headquarters of Bageshwar district. The town is situated on the confluence of Gomti and Sarju river which is a tributary of Sharda or Kali river and joins Kali at Pancheswar. This Sarju river is the same, which is known as Sharda till it meets Ghaghra /Sarayu river on whose bank Ayodhya is situated. (But this Gomti river is also not the same Gomti river on whose bank Lucknow is situated.) 
The name has been derived from "Byaghreshwar". 'Byaghra' is tiger and 'Ishwar' is God. Therefore the name would mean Tiger God, i.e., Lord Shiva.
The nearest airport is at Pantnagar, 180 km (110 mi) away to the south in Nainital district. The nearest railhead is Kathgodam, 160 km (99 mi) away to the south in Nainital district reached via Almora town (75 km (47 mi)). Tanakpur 230 km (140 mi) away to south-southeast near the border with Nepal is another railhead.
Places around Bageshwar
Bestowed with abundant picturesque and scenic beauty, there are many places of tourism and historic importance in Bageshwar. There are many old temples dating back to tenth century. Among them are the Baijnath temple and Bagnath temple; the latter is situated in the middle of the town just across the confluence of Saryu and Gomti. Chandika and Neeleshwar temples are other important temples in the city.
Other important shrines in and around Bageshwar are - Haru mandir Kakara and Gopeshwar mandir, Ram Ghat temple, Agnikund temple, Kukuda Mai temple, Shitla Devi temple, Trijugi Narayan temple, Hanuman temple, Nileshwar Dham, Swarg Ashram, Ramji temple, Loknath Ashram, Ashram of Amitji, Jwala Devi temple, Veni Mahadev temple, Radha Krishna temple, Bhileshwar Dham, Suraj Kund, Siddartha Dham, Gopeshwar Dham, Golu temple and Praktishwar Mahadev.
Kanda 25 km (16 mi): A picturesque site on Bageshwar- Chaukori road near the ancient temple of Bhadra Kali temple is a nature lover's delight.
Vijaypur 30 km (19 mi): It affords a panoramic view of the snow-clad Himalayan peaks.
Baijnath, Uttarakhand 26 km (16 mi): This historical and pilgrimage site on Gwaldam motor road is set on the banks of river Gomti in Katyur valley. It was once the capital of Katyuri kings and the ancient temples here are testimony of the KATYURI PERIOD. The ancient Shiva temple here is famous for the magnificent idol of Goddess Parvati. Another important shrine is the Kotkimai temple, 8 km (5.0 mi) from here.
Kapkot, a Tehsil headquarter,is situated 24 kilometres far from Bageshwar on the bank of Saryu river en route Pindari Glacier. Panduthal,a bugyal is also there in the vicinity of Kapkot. Bharari, small township (earlier a base camp for Pindari trek)is situated on the opposite of Kapkot. From here one can go to Shamadhura ( some 18 miles far), a picturesque place facing lofty Himalayas.
This world famous glacier is situated in the Pindar Valley at an altitude of 3,353 m (11,001 ft) between the Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot mountains. The glacier is a trekker's paradise, as it is one of the most easily accessible of all the Himalayan glaciers. The rugged beauty of the glacier presents an aweinspiring site. The glacier is 5 km (3.1 mi) long, the snout is about 6m high and 2.5m wide and above the snout, the glacier extends for about 3 km (1.9 mi) in length and 300 to 400m in width, between an altitudinal range of about 3600m to 5000m. The colour of Pindari Glacier is very white and Pindar river emerging from it is a sight to behold.
Pindari Glacier Trek: The base camp is at Song which can be reached by road from Bageshwar 36 km (22 mi), Almora 109 km (68 mi), and Kathgodam 199 km (124 mi). After that one has to trek 45 km (28 mi) up to zero point (Pindari Glacier). Song to Loharkhet - 3 km trek
Loharkhet to Dhakuri - 11 km
Dhakuri to Khati - 8 km
Khati to Dwali - 11 km
Dwali to Phurkia - 7 km
Phurkia to Pindari Glacier - 5 km
Sundardhunga or the 'valley of beautiful stones' is also located in the Pindar region. The glacier offers a tough trek as compared to Pindari and Kaphini. There are two glacier for trekkers and nature lovers, namely Maiktoli and Sukhram. The route up to village Khati is common for both Pindari and Sundardhunga glaciers.
Sundardhunga Glacier Trek: The trek length is 54 km (34 mi) from Base Camp at Song.
Song to Loharkhet - 3 km Loharkhet to Dhakuri - 11 km
Dhakuri to Kathi - 8 km
Kathi to Sundardhunga Glacier - 30 km.
Pungar river is a tributory of Sarju meeting it at Balighat some 4 miles far from Bageshwar. The picturesque Pungar valley amidst lofty hills and small riverines extends up to Shikhar- Bhanar,abode of the deity of same name on a high hill top. Many villages like, Tuper, Hirmoli, Chaura, Dofar, Banlekh, Saneti are situated in this valley.
In the absence of proper town planning, today Bageshwar looks like a cluster of ghotuls. You cannot walk through roads and paths smoothly and safely.
Fairs and festivals
The fairs and festivals of Kumaun are not only an expression of the religious, social and the cultural ethos of the people but have also sustained the folk culture and have been central to the economic activities of the people. Also at remotely located places of hilly terrain, especially where communication is difficult and the land is cut up by mountain or water, the need is felt for periodical meetings at convenient centers, where exchange and sale of commodities could take place.For example, in Bageshwar many valleys which absolutely depend on such meetings for their supply of basic necessities, and consequently fairs or periodical markets (locally known Kauthig) are numerous. They may have no religious associations. The great annual fairs are known by the name of "Mela", and are always connected with religious ideas and customs. They very often center round some famous local shrine, which reaps an extensive harvest at the annual festival. Business, pleasure and religion are cheerfully combined in these junketing, which are doubtless the chief oases in the monotonous lives.. The following main fairs and festivals are celebrated in the region.
VISHUVATI alias BIKHAUTI
Among the twice born people this festival is observed as the day of solistice. This solistice is called Mesh (ram in form) also; but the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Shilpkars observe a grand festival on this day with victuals fried in ghee, sweetmeats, betel-leaves etc. In many places fairs are also held. Pahari (Kumaoni) songs are sung to accompaniment playing of Hurka (small drum like musical instrument) and people dance. This is an old festival of aboriginals of this place. (The smoldering of the stomach with a red hot iron is called 'tala dalna'). On this day fairs are held in Dwarahat, Syalde, Chaugar and Lohakhai.
VAT SAVITRI AMAVASYA
Women fast on this day. The story of chaste Savitri and Satyavan is heard on this day. The figures of the dead Satyavan, Yamraj (the God of death) and eminent jewel aound Savitri are drawn under a banyan tree and are worshipped. Consecrating the thread of twelve knots (dor), women tie it around their necks.
Hariyala or the solstice of Karka, 10–11 days before the solstice of Shravan (July–August). Putting soil layer in bamboo/ cane pots paddy, maize, horse bean and other grains(Panchnaj) are sown in the rainy season. This is kept indoor in shade away from direct sunlight,resulting its colour yellow; this is called Harela. It is put on heads on the festive day by all as the blessing of deity.
This is a famous fast. The women hold the rule of Chatursmasya (the bathing and fasting for months beginning on the eve of the rainy season) from this day. The fast ends on Haribodhini (awakening of gods).
SIMHA OR GHRI SANKRANTI
The solistice of Simha is also called olagia. Earlier, during the Chand rule, craftsmen used to receive reward on this day by showing or exhibiting articles of their crafts and handiwork, and the other people too carried flowers, fruits, vegetables,curd, milk, sweets and several best things to the royal court or as present for the local elites. This was known as the rite of 'ooag'. This custom resembled the presentation of gifts to the Britishers on Christmas Day. Even now this festival is celebrated in some measure. This is called Ghrit' or 'Ghee' Sankranti. On this day there is a widespread custom to consume much Ghee with breads prepared from pounded horse-bean.
This is the fast and worship of Ganesh on the fourth day of the dark half of Bhadra (Aug-Sep). Food is taken on the visibility of the moon after giving chairity by libation in honour of the deity, moon. This fast is generally observed by the women.
This fast is kept on the third day of the dark half of Aug-Sep. Women observe this fast for prosperity and longevity of their husbands. The Samvedis have their 'Upakarma' in the Hast asterism.
This fast is held on the eighth of the bright half of Aug-Sep. making Doorva (agrootislinearis) of gold, silver, silk etc., consecrating and worshipping it, the women wear it themselves. Prayer to Doorva Devi is made for gaining prosperity and progency. Food cooked in fire is prohibited on this day.
Beginning from the eighth day of the bright half of Aug-Sep to the eighth day of the dark half of Sept-Oct, many devotees do the worship of Laxmi and observe fast. The worship of Nanda Devi had been continuing in the court of the Chanda kings traditionally with great pump and show. This is one among the tribal festival of Kumaun. Nanda is the Ranchandi (Chandi of battle) of Kumaun. The elementary battle cry here is 'Jay to Nanda Devi', 'victory to her'. The sacrifice of the buffaloes and goats is made in her worship. The worship in Almora is even now made with great splendour and huge fair is held. The descendants of Chands do this worship. In Nainital late Lala Moti Ram started this fair. Fairs are held in Katyur, Ranikhet and Bhowali also. She is reported to be family deity of the kings of Kumaun.
On this day the sun enters into the tropic of Capricon(Makar). A great fair called Uttaraini is held at Bageshwar. A holy dip is taken by the masses in rivers at Bageshwar, Rameshwer, Chitrashila and other places. This festival is also called 'Kale Kauwa' in Kumaun. Flour is kneaded with 'Gud', then forming a figure of a particular word, Ghuguta, pudding is made and strung into a rosary. Orange and other fruits are also strung in it. These rosaries are put round the necks of the children. The children, who get up early in the morning on this very day, call the crows by uttering 'Kale Kauwa Aa Le, Ghughuti Mala Kha Le'. They take off some pudding from the rosary and give it to crow to eat. This usage is not seen anywhere else except in Kumaun. It appears to be an old festival of this region.
UTTARAINI FESTIVAL (Uttarayani Mela)
One of the largest fair of Kumaun region, the Uttraini festival of Bageshwar, is organized in the month of January for a period of one week and in the past was frequented by Almora traders, on barter or money lending intent, and by the Bhotiyas from Tibet border, as well as by a great multitude of people from the surrounding villages. The chief articles of merchandise are: ponies, goats, sheep, furs, yak tails, musk pods, borax, salt horns, books, shoes, fruit dried and fresh. The Bhotiyas bring down excellent ponies, which breed in a wild or semi-wild state over the Tibetan border(ALAS! now no ponies or Bhotiya traders there.) ..
Many educational institutions are there in and around Bageshwar town from pre-primary to post graduate level. A mushroom growth of private schools is there. But from the perspective of quality no good school is there on count.
As of 2011[update] India census, Bageshwar had a population of 7803. Males constitute 55% of the population and females 45%. Bageshwar has an average literacy rate of 75%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with 58% of the males and 42% of females literate. 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.
- "Bageshwar PinCode". citypincode.in. Retrieved 2014-03-17.
- Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Bageshwar
- "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- Bageshwar city, Official website
- Official website of Bageshwar district
- Gomti Sarayu Sangam photo & terrain map link
- Photos of a village in Bageshwar
- Best Himalayan Resort in Bageshwar District in Munsyari Road
- About Bageshwar - http://www.bageshwar.com
- Resort in Bageshwar