Pithoragarh district

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Pithoragarh district
पिथौरागढ़ जिला
district
Gori River Valley
Gori River Valley
Pithoragarh district is located in Uttarakhand
Pithoragarh district
Pithoragarh district
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
State Uttarakhand
Division Kumaon
Headquarters Pithoragarh
Area
 • Total 7,110 km2 (2,750 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 485,993
 • Density 69/km2 (180/sq mi)
Languages
 • Official Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 262501
Telephone code 91 5964
Vehicle registration UK-05
Website pithoragarh.nic.in

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, 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.

Etymology[edit]

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.

Brief history[edit]

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 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[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.

Language[edit]

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.

Climate[edit]

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 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.

Seasons[edit]

  • 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

Demographics[edit]

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 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[edit]

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

Himalayan peaks of Pithoragarh[edit]

Peak Height (m)
Nanda Devi East 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)
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]

Flora[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 places[edit]

Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary

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

Dharchula

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

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.

Dhwaj

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.

Jauljibi

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

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

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.

Pithoragarh Fort

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.

Nakuleshwar

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

Jhulaghat

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.

Chandak

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.

Berinag

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.

Jhaltola

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.

Chaukori

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

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.

Thal

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[edit]

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.

Chhiplakot

Situated at an altitude of 3090 m near Baram on Jauljibi-Munsiyari road. This place provides an ideal skiing settings.

Lakes of Pithoragarh[edit]

Parvati Sarovar; Anchari 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]

References[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]