Pithoragarh district

Pithoragarh district

Infobox Indian Jurisdiction
native_name = Pithoragarh | type = district | latd = 29.58 | longd = 80.22
state_name = Uttarakhand
district = Pithoragarh
leader_title =
leader_name =
altitude = 1830
population_as_of = 2001
population_total = 462149 | population_density =
area_magnitude= km²
area_total = 7,169
area_telephone = 91 5964
postal_code = 262501
vehicle_code_range = UA 04
sex_ratio =
unlocode =
website = pithoragarh.nic.in
footnotes =

Pithoragarh ( _hi. पिथौरागढ़) 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 this area has rich ecologocal diversity. The geographical area of the district is 7169 km². As per the 2001 census, the total population of the district is 4,62,149. The total literacy rate is 76.48 percent. Pithoragarh town, which is located in Soar or Soar valley (Hindi-सोर), is also its headquarter. The district is the part of Kumaon (Hindi-कुमाऊं) region of Uttarakhand state and which is also one of its administrative division. Pithoragarh has many temples and ruined forts reminiscent of the once flourishing reign of Chand Kings (चंद नरेश). There is Tibet plateau situated to the north of the district. Nepal lies on the eastern borders. The River Kali originates from Kalapaani, forms its continuous eastern boundary with Nepal. It is an Indian border district with China. The Hindu pilgrimage route for Mount Kailash-Lake Mansarovar passes through this district via Lipu-Lekh pass in the greater Himalayas. The district is administratively divided into five tehsils, namely Munsiyari, Dharchula, Didihat, Gangolihat, and Pithoragarh. Naini Saini is the nearest civil airport. The mineral deposits present in the district are magnesium ore, copper ore, limestones and slate stone.

Origin of the Name

Pithoragarh derives it's name from tradition of rajputs, to name the places they settled in, after the places they arrived from. Pithoragarh was the capital of Prithvi Raj Chauhan, also known as Rai Pithora. Chauhan settlers surviving muslim invaders named Pithoragarh, the present district in Uttarakhand

Brief history

Under the Pals

After its conquest by the Rajwar of Ukko Bhartpal in the year 1364, Pithoragarh was for the whole of the remaining 14th century by the three generation of Pals and the kingdom extended from Pithoragarh to Askot.

Chand Dynasty

According to a tamrapatra dating back to 1420 the Pal dynasty was uprooted by the Brahm dynasty of Nepal but subsequently following the death of Gyan Chand in a conflict with Kshetra Pal, the Pal supremacy was restored. It is believed that Bhartichand, an ancestor of Gyan Chand, had replaced Bums, the ruler of Pithoragarh, after defeating them in 1445. In 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.

Under British

Subsequently under British domination, Pithoragarh remained a tehsil under Almora district until 1960 when it was elevated to a district. Under the British there was an army cantonment, Church, Mission school. Christianity was developed in this region.

Modern Pithoragarh

Pithoragarh district was previously the part of Almora district of Uttarakhand. Pithoragarh was created as a separate district in 1960. In 1997 a new district of Champawat was carved out by reorganizing its boundaries.


The widely spoken language is Kumauni with its numerous variations. Kumaoni is a dialect written in Devanagari script. Bhotiya tribe speak Tibetan mix dialect called 'Beyansi' or '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 the valley, is relatively warm during summer and cool during winters. During the coldest months of December - January , the tropical and temperate mountain ridges and high locations receive snowfall and has an average monthly temperature ranging between 5.5°C and 8°C. Pithoragarh district have extreme variation in temperature due to much altitude gradient. The temperature starts rising from mid March until mid June. The areas situated above 3,500 m remain in a permanent snow cover. Regions lying between 3,000 to 3,500 m become snow bound for four to six months. There are extreme points present at the different places like the river gorges at Dharchula, Jhulaghat, Ghat and Sera, where sometimes temperatures rise up to 40°C. The annual average rainfall is 36.7 cm. After June the district receives Monsoon showers. Winter set for transhumance - seasonal migration among the Bhotiya tribe with their herds of livestocks to lower warmer areas.


*Winter or Cold weather (December - March)
*Summer or hot weather (March - June)
*Season of general rains (North - West monsoon-Mid June to mid September)
*Season of retreating monsoon (September to November)

Native tribes

Tribes inhabiting in the district are Van Rawats and Bhotiya. Both the tribes are nomadic; Van Rawats are hunter-gatherers. Bhotiyas are basically sheep and goat herders and do some trading in Tibet. Bhotiya tribe celebrates Kandali Festival and organize country clubs called 'Rang Bhang'.

Glaciers of Pithoragarh

Locally glaciers are known as Gal. Some important glaciers of the districts 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

Peaks 7,000 M and over

Nanda Devi East-7434 M
Hardeol-7,151 M
Trishuli-7,074 M

Peaks 6,000 M and over

Rishi Pahar-6,992 M
Nanda Kot-6,861 M
Chiring We-6,559 M
Rajrambha-6,537 M
Chaudhara-6,510 M
Sangthang-6,480 M
Panchchuli-6,437 M
Nagalaphu-6,410 M
Suitilla ( Suj Tilla West )-6,374 M
Suj Tilla East -6,393 M
Bamba Dhura-6,334 M
Burphu Dhura-6,334 M
Changuch-6,322 M
Nanda Gond-6,315 M
Nanda Pal-6,306 M
Suli Top-6,300 M
Kuchela-6,294 M
Nital Thaur-6,236 M
Kalganga Dhura-6,215 M
Jonglingkong or Baba Kailash - 6,191 M
Lalla We-6,123 M
Kalabaland Dhura-6,105 M
Telkot-6,102 M
Bainti-6,079 M
Ikualari-6,059 M
Nagling-6,041 M
Menaka Peak-6,000 M

Peaks 5,000 M and over

Trigal-5,983 M
Yungtangto-5,945 M
Sankalp-5,929 M
Laspa Dhura-5,913 M
Sahdev-5,782 M
Ralam Dhura-5,630 M
Gilding Peak-5,629 M
Shivu-5,255 M
Tihutia-5,252 M
Draupadi Peak-5,250 M
Rambha Kot-5,221 M
Panchali Chuli-5,220 M

Mountain Passes of Pithoragarh

International Passes to Tibet

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

Intra District Himalayan Passes

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

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

Lim Bagudiyar Fall, Birthi Fall, Pilsitti Fall, Garaun Fall


Flora includes many unique sub-tropical, temperate and alpine plants. The flora of the district includes many Bryophytes, Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms and Angiosperms. Rare varieties of Orchids are also present in the high altitude valleys of Milan, Darma, Beyans and Kuthi. Among them "Myrica esculenta" (Kafal), "Saussurea obvallata" (Brahm Kamal), "Zanthoxylum armatum" (Timur), "Berberis aristata" (Kirmod), "Saussurea simpsonia", "Rhododendron campanulatum", "Rubus rotundifolius" (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).

Tourist places

;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 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.

;Dhwaj Fifteen kilometers 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 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 suppose 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 Soar valley and lofty Himalayan peaks. This temple is three kilometers 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 meters), one can see panoramic and breath-taking view of the Pithoragarh Soar or Swar 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.

;BerinagA 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.

;ChaukoriProbably 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.

;BelkotBelkot 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 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.

kiing ranges

;Khalia TopHigh altitude meadow with gentle slope, located 7 km from Munsiyari.

;Betuli DharIt 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.

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

Lakes of Pithoragarh

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

Folk lore and dances

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

External links

* [http://pithoragarh.nic.in/ Pithoragarh District website]


* History of Kumaun by B D Pandey.
* Across Peaks and Passes of Kumaun Himalayas by Harish Kapadia.

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