- Uttar Pradesh
district of Pithoragarh was carved out of the district of
Almora, Uttar Pradesh in 1962. Pithorgarh boasts majestic
peaks like Nanda Devi East, Nanda Devi West, Trishul, Hardeol,
Nandakhat, Rajrambha, Bambadhura, and the Panchchuli group
amongst others. It has its fair share of magnificent glaciers
too, like the Milam, Namik, Ralam, Meola and Balati glaciers.
From these flow the mighty rivers of Kuti, Dhauli Ganga (East),
Gori Ganga, Ram Ganga (East), Saryu and Kali (Sharda) which
provide ample scope for rafting and canoeing. The lower hill
ranges are home to picturesque summer resorts like Champawat,
Lohaghat, Pithoragarh, Didihat and Berinag. The lush forest
cover is home to a mind-boggling variety of flora and fauna.
On the south, Pithoragarh district touches the Tarai area
of Nainital. The northern part of the district is the abode
of exotic and colourful tribes whose adventurous spirit is
legendary in the annals of mountaineering and exploration.
The Raji tribe, on the verge of extinction, makes its home
in the jungles of the Himalayan range.
Festivals and religious ceremonies take place in all parts
of the district all year around. The festival of Devi Dhura
is famous for its large scale stone-pelting by two rival teams.
Some of the ritualistic festive events of Beas, Chaudas and
Darma Valley takes place once in 12 years. The festival of
Kanar-Chhiplakot is another major event in this area. The
temple of Punyagiri on the banks of the river of Sharda is
frequented by thousands of devotees from the plains of Uttar
Pradesh throughout the year.
What to See
Pithoragarh: The district headquarters
is located at an altitude of about 1650 mts in a lush sprawling
valley, also known as Sore. The hill of Chandak located at
about 2000 mts commands a wonderful panoramic view of the
divine snow rage extending from Trishul-Nanda Devi, Panchchuli
Group and Mount Appi of Nepal. The nearest railhead is Tanakpur,
151 kms away and the nearest airhead is is Pantnagar Airstrip,
249 kms away. Tourist rest houses and hotels are available
Champawat: 76 kms from Pithoragarh
at an altitude of 1615 mts is Champawat, the erstwhile capital
of the Chand Rajas of Kumaon. The ancient fort now houses
the Tehsil offices. The site of several shrines, the principal
temple here is the Nagnath temple. A tourist bungalow is available
Devidhura: 45 kms from Lohaghat
lies Devidhura at a height of 2500 mts. It is the site of
the famous temple of Barahi Devi, and also the venue of a
grand fair on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
Gangolihat: Gangolihat, an important
religious site, lies 77 kms from Pithoragarh. At the ancient
Kali temple, a colourful fair is held during Navratris. The
famous Patal Bhuvneshwari caves are located 14 kms away. PWD
and Zila Parishad Dak Bungalows are available for accomodation.
Chaukori: 112 kms from Pithoragarh
is picturesque Chaukori which boasts a splendid view of the
Himalayas. Tourist rest house is available.
Berinag: Berinag lies 102 kms
from Pithoragarh, which also provides a fantastic view of
the great mountains. PWD and Forest Rest Houses are available.
Punyagiri Temple: Punyagiri temple
is one of the most renowned temples in the Kumaon region.
Lakhs of pilgrims visit the shrine during April to June. The
site is around 20 kms from Tanakpur, out of which 6 kms is
to be trekked. A tourist bungalow and dharamsalas are available
Jaul Jibi: 68 kms from Pithoragarh,
Jaul Jibi is the venue of a grand fair, held every year at
the confluence of the rivers Gori and Kali, in the month of
November, which attracts people from neighbouring Nepal too.
The Sub-Divisional Headquarters town of Dharchula is 16 kms
north of the Nepal border. Tourist and PWD rest houses are
Ritha-Saheb: A major Sikh pilgrimage
site, Ritha-Saheb lies 62 ks from Lohaghat. Accomodation facilities
are provided by the Gurudwara authorities.
Rameshwar: 36 kms from Pithoragarh
is Rameshwar, located at the confluence of the Ram Ganga (East)
and Saryu rivers. It is the site of a Shiva temple, where
a huge fair is held every year on Makarsankranti (January).
Milam Glacier: This majestic
glacier lies 208 kms from Pithoragrah. From Munsiyari one
has to trek for 54 kms. Rest Houses are available enroute.
Munsiyari: Munsiyari lies 154
kms from Pithoragarh enroute to Milam Glacier. Perched at
an altitude of 7000 feet, Munsiyari commands a fascinating
view of the Panchchuli Range and Gori river. It also forms
the base for treks to Milam, Namik and Ralam glaciers. Munsiyari
is also the venue of numerous fairs during August and September.
Tourist rest house is available for accomodation.
Shyamla Tal: 132 kms from Pithoragarh
is Shyamla Tal, a beautiful natural lake at the bank of which
is located Swami Vivekananda Ashram where accomodation facilities
are available on request.
Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Route:
The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is conducted by the Kumaon Mandal
Vikas Nigam. The road journey for this Yatra concludes at
Tawaghat near Dharchula. From this point pilgrims have to
trek through the valley of Kali (Sharda river). Campsites
are centred arond Narayanswamy Ashram, Sirkha, Budi, Gunji,
Navedhang and Kalapani. From Gunji (3500 mts) there is a diversion
to Kuti valley which leads to Chhota Kailash through the village
Adventure Tourism: The upper
reaches of Pithoragarh district provide thrilling treks like
Trail's pass, Milam Glacier, Ralam Valley, Chhota Kailash,
Sinla etc. All these lie above 300 mts. These are good not
simply for treks but some great skiing during winter. Several
snow peaks like Mount Hardeol challenge the most intrepid
of mountaineers. The Gori and Sharda rivers are wonderful
for river rafting while the lakes and rivers in the lower
reaches are apt for angling. Pithoragarh is one of the best
sites for hang-gliding.