Pithoragarh district

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Pithoragarh district
Gori River Valley
Gori River Valley
Location in Uttarakhand, India
Location in Uttarakhand, India
Coordinates: 30°00′N 80°20′E / 30.000°N 80.333°E / 30.000; 80.333Coordinates: 30°00′N 80°20′E / 30.000°N 80.333°E / 30.000; 80.333
Country India
 • Total7,110 km2 (2,750 sq mi)
 • Total485,993
 • Density69/km2 (180/sq mi)
 • OfficialHindi, Kumaoni /soaryali
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Telephone code91 5964
Vehicle registrationUK-05

Pithoragarh district 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 warrior Chand Kingdom.

The geographical area of the district is 7,110 km2 (2,750 sq mi). At the 2011 census, the total population of the district was 485,993. The total literacy rate was 82.93 percent. Pithoragarh town, which is located in Saur Valley, is its headquarters. The district is within the Kumaon division 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 six tehsils: Munsiari; Dharchula; Didihat; Berinag; 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.


Some attribute the name to King Pithora Chand from the Chand Dynasty, while others cite Prithvi Raj Chauhan of the Chauhan Rajputs, who built a fort named Pithora Garh in the Saur Valley.


Pals (Katyuri kings)[edit]

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[edit]

A village of Pithoragarh district

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[edit]

It is believed that Bharti Chand, 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 Kumaon. 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 King of Kumaon Chand of (Pithoragarh), has a Prince Deepak Chand last ruling from Dauli, Pithoragarh. Deopa's were the also king of this distic and now these day they are also in a large quantity mainly they found in Talli Bhaishuri , Didihat(distic) . They contribute to built the distic and they are very kind and initiative and mainly they came from Nepal where they were king and did many social developing things.

British rule[edit]

British rule began on 2 December 1815 when Nepal was forced to sign the Sugauli Treaty. Pithoragarh remained a tehsil under Almora district until 1960 when its 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[edit]

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. Hindi is the common language between the locals and outsiders. Those who visit the place do not find any difficulty as Hindi is the most common link language everywhere. English is also spoken by some people specially teachers and lecturers engaged in educational institution and students in undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

The Shauka (Rung) tribe of tehsil Dharchula speak 3 dialects of Runglo (Rung language) called Byansi spoken in Byans valley, Bangbani spoken in (Bangba) Chaudas valley and Darmia in Darma valley. These are spoken languages which have no scripts. The Van Rawat tribe speaks their own unique Kumaoni variant.

There are several Sino-Tibetan languages of the West Himalayish branch are spoken in Pithoragarh district. These include the Rawat language, was formerly spoken in Pithoragarh district and is now extinct.


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 (41.9–46.4 °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 snowbound 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 in lower reaches is 360 centimetres (140 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


Religions in Pithoragarh District
Religion Percent

According to the 2011 census Pithoragarh district has a population of 485,993, roughly equal to the nation of Suriname.[1] 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%.[2]

Native tribes in the district include the Van Rawats and Shaukas. Van Rawats are hunter-gatherers. Shaukas are traders. In Pithoragarh the Shaukas are divided into two main tribes. Johari Shaukas and Rung Shaukas. The Johari Shauka community inhabits the areas in Munsiyari while Rung Shaukas tribe are spread among the three valleys of Darma, Chaundas and Byans. Kangdali Festival, celebrated once every 12 years by inhabitants of Chaundas Valley, is one of the major festivals in this area.

Assembly Constituencies[edit]

  1. Dharchhula
  2. Didihat
  3. Pithoragarh
  4. Gangolihat (SC)

Glaciers of Pithoragarh[edit]

Locally, glaciers are known as Gal. Some important glaciers of the district are as follows:

Himalayan peaks of Pithoragarh[edit]

Peak Height (m)
Sunanda Devi 7,434
Hardeol 7,151
Trishuli 7,099
Rishi Pahar 6,992
Panchchuli II 6,904
Nanda Kot 6,861
Chiring We 6,559
Rajrambha 6,537
Chaudhara 6,510
Sangthang 6,480
Panchchuli V 6,437
Nagalaphu 6,410
Suitilla (Suj Tilla West) 6,374
Suj Tilla East 6,393
Panchchuli I 6,355
Bamba Dhura 6,334
Burphu Dhura 6,334
Panchchuli IV 6,334
Changuch 6,322
Nanda Gond 6,315
Panchchuli III 6,312
Nanda Pal 6,306
Suli Top 6,300
Kuchela 6,294
Nital Thaur 6,236
Kalganga Dhura 6,215
Jonglingkong or Baba Kailash 6,191
Lalla We 6,123
Kalabaland Dhura 6,105
Telkot 6,102
Bainti 6,079
Ikualari 6,059
Nagling 6,041
Menaka Peak 6,000
Trigal 5,983
Yungtangto 5,945
Sankalp 5,929
Laspa Dhura 5,913
Sahdev 5,782
Ralam Dhura 5,630
Gilding Peak 5,629
Shivu 5,255
Tihutia 5,252
Draupadi Peak 5,250
Rambha Kot 5,221
Panchali Chuli 5,220

Mountain passes of Pithoragarh[edit]

International passes to Tibet[edit]

Pass Height (m)
Lampiya Dhura 5,530
Lipu-Lekh pass 5,450
Lowe Dhura 5,562
Mangshya Dhura 5,630
Nuwe Dhura 5,650

Intra-district Himalayan passes[edit]

Pass Height (m)
Ghantesh Baba 5,164
Kungri Bhingri La 5,564
Nama pass 5,500
Sinla pass 5,495
Ralam pass 5,630
Keo Dhura 5,439
Belcha Dhura 5,384
Kalganga Dhura 5,312
Traills pass 5,312
Gangchal Dhura 5,050
Birejrang Dhura 4,666
Ghatmila Dhura
Unta Dhura pass
Yangkchar Dhura 4,800
Rur Khan 3,800
Bainti Col 5,100
Longstaff Col 5,910

Valleys of Pithoragarh[edit]

Waterfalls of Pithoragarh[edit]


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:

Tourist attractions[edit]

Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary[edit]

Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary is a 599.93 km2 wildlife sanctuary located around Askot near Didihat, in Pithoagarh district of the Himalaya of Kumaon in Uttarakhand, India.


Dharchula is a Tehsil and a nagar panchayat in Pithoragarh district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. Dharchula is a 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, has views of the Himalaya ranges, especially the Panchchuli range. The Shira-kot Temple of Lord Malay Nath is nearby, and was built by Reka Kings. Nearby, ten km away from here Narayan Swamy Ashram at Narayan Nager is situated.

Patal Bhubaneshwar[edit]

It is a place 77 km from Pithoragarh at Gangolihat, and has 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 a 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 a 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 tell 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[edit]

This cave provides an excellent example of peculiar limestone formations and situated near Pithoragarh.


Munsiari 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 the 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 known for the Khalia Bugyal, an alpine meadow. The forest ponds of Mesar Kund and Thamri Taal, close to Munsiari are also popular with tourists. The valley from Munsiari to Milam is known as Johar Valley.


Madkot, 22 km from Munsiari, has hot water springs which are supposed to cure rheumatism, arthritis, and skin ailments.

Adi-Kailash (Chhota Kailash)[edit]

At an altitude of 6,191 M on Indo-Tibet border in Byans valley of Tehsil Dharchula, Adi-Kailash (Chota Kailash) or is situated. Trekking from Mangti to Jollingkong via Chialekh (Chaetoh), Garbyang, Gunji and Kuti one can reach Adi Kailash. If one goes towards kalapani from village Gunji, one can go further to Nabhidang just beyond Kalapani and see the sacred Hindu peak named Om Parvat, elevation 6,191 M.

Narayan Ashram[edit]

An Ashram established by Shri Narayan Swamy near village Sosa in the Chaudans valley in 1936, on the 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 has been engaged in socio-spiritual works.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra[edit]

The Hindu pilgrimage tour to Kailash-Mansarover passes through the district. From Mangti pilgrims have to move on foot.

Pithoragarh Fort[edit]

It is set atop a hill on the outskirts of the town. The fort was built by the Gorkhas in 1789. The fort has served as a tehsil headquarters in past but now it has been completely renovated and is used as a museum.

Kapileshwar Mahadev[edit]

The cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva affords the fine view of the Saur valley and lofty Himalayan peaks. This temple is three kilometres from Pithoragarh.

Thal Kedar[edit]

This ancient Shiva Temple is also known for its scenic splendour. During the annual fair of Maha Shivratri a large number of devotees and pilgrims flock here. Situated at 16 km from Pithoragarh.


It is believed that Nakuleshwara Temple was built by Nakula and Sahadeva (Pandavas). The place is located near Pithoragarh town.


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 place, 7 km from Pithoragarh, at an altitude of 6,000 feet (1,830 m), one can see panoramic and a breath-taking view of the Pithoragarh Soar Valley, from here. According to legends, it is a place where demon 'Chandghat' was killed by Goddess Durga.

The temple of Mostamanu of Lord Shiva is a locally adored place in Chandak. Every year the Mostamanu fair is organised by the local people here and is very popular. There is a long swing about 20 feet where people enjoy it. One person can ride this swing at one time.

Chhipla Kedar[edit]

Chipla Kedar is 34 km from Tawaghat situated 4626 meters (15,177 ft) above sea level.


A small town located 102 km from Pithoragarh, Berinag is at an altitude of 2010 m. Berinag places 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 a full panoramic 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 has tea gardens and orchards.


Belkot is a small village in Pithoragarh District, around 10 km from Berinag. Located in 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 the 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 the route of Munsiari and Kailash Manas Sarovar.

Skiing ranges[edit]

Khalia Bugyal[edit]

High altitude meadow with a gentle slope, located 7 km from Munsyari.

Betuli Dhar[edit]

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 Munsyari


Situated at an altitude of 3090 m near Baram on Jauljibi-Munsyari road. This place provides an ideal skiing settings. At present there are no skiing facilities available nor is there any record of any one having

Lakes of Pithoragarh[edit]

Parvati Sarovar; Anchari Tal; Pari tal ;Jolingkong Lake; Chhiplakot Lake; Maheshwari Kund; Thamri Kund

Folk lore and dances[edit]

Malushahi; Phag; Ramola; Jagar; Ghaneli; Chhapeli; Jhora; Chholiya Dance; Anthoo; Hil Jatra.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Retrieved 1 October 2011. Suriname 491,989 July 2011 est.
  2. ^ "District Census 2011". Census2011.co.in. 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  • History of Kumaun by B D Pandey.
  • Across Peaks and Passes of Kumaun Himalayas by Harish Kapadia.

External links[edit]