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Pithoragarh is formed out of the Almora district in 1960. The district in which the city is located is named after the city and is called as District of Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand. The town is situated amidst the Soar Valley (Soar means cool) and is situated in the centre of the four hills namely Dhwaj, Chandak, Thal Kedar and Kumdar and it stretches up to Jhulaghat in the south by Kali River which adjoins it with the Nepal Hills. It is also surrounded by four kots namely Dungerkot, Unchakot, Udaikot and Bhatkot. It is the gateway to the Himalayas in the north and pilgrims travel through this town to reach Lake Manasarovar, Om Parvat and Kailash. The tourists can have a scenic view of the snow covered peaks of Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Panch Chulhi.
History of Pithoragarh
Pal dynasty ruled over the Pithoragarh during 14th century. Though it got defeated by Brahm dynasty in 1420, it again regained its supremacy after the death of Gyand Chand. In 16th century, Pithoragarh again came under Chand dynasty and they constructed a new fort in the year 1790. During British rule, it was a tehsil under district of Almora and in 1960 it was formed as a district which was named after the Pithoragarh town. According to legend, Piru who is known as Prithvi Gosain of Chand dynasty constructed a fort and the same was named as ‘Prithvigarh’. In due course of time, the name of the fort became ‘Pithoragarh’, the name of the city as well as district.
Geography of Pithoragarh
Pithoragarh is situated at 29.58oN 80.22o E and has an elevation of 1514 m (4967 ft).
Climate of Pithoragarh
As the town is situated in the valley, the climate is warm during summer. In winter, it is very cool. During December-January, the mountain ridges and region above 3500 m experience a snowfall. In region which lies between 3000-3500 m, four to six months will have snow. The average annual rainfall of the region is 36.7 cm. June to September, the region receives monsoon rain.
Administration of Pithoragarh
Pithoragarh is administered by a Municipal board and it comes under the district of Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand state.
Business and Economy in Pithoragarh
The predominant occupation of people of Pithoragarh is horticulture as well as floriculture based farming. It also has some food based industries. Tourism is yet another major occupation of the people of Pithoragarh.
Culture of Pithoragarh
Pithoragarh is renowned for unique culture and Sharadotsav celebrated here plays an important role in preserving the same. During the festival, music, dance, mehandi, quiz, etc were conducted. School children also participate in Sharadotsav and perform songs and folk dances.
Tourism in and around Pithoragarh
Pithoragarh attracts tourists from all parts of the country as well as world. The town has several temples, forts, parks, etc. which attracts the tourists throughout the year. Let’s see about them here.
There were two forts in Pithoragarh. Of which only this fort constructed by Gorkhas in 1789 is still available. This fort is situated on the outskirts of Pithoragarh town on a hill.
The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Shiva as well as Maa Jayanti and is situated at an altitude of 2100 m above the sea level. This temple is revered by the local people as well as the people of Kumaon. From this temple, the pilgrims can have a breathtaking view of the Himalayas. This temple could be reached either by trekking for 4 Km or by driving for 10 Kms.
It is located 16 Kms away from Pithoragarh and is visited by Shaivites. An annual fair is celebrated here during Shivratri.
Kapleshwar Mahadev Temple
This cave temple is situated some 3 Km away from Pithoragarh and the presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. From this temple, the pilgrims can have a magnificent view of Himalayas and Soar Valley.
Chandak is located 8 Kms from Pithoragarh and it offers excellent view of the Himalayas. Manu temple situated here is highly revered by the locales.
Maharaj Ke Park
This park is established in memory of Indian Military soldiers who died in Kashmir. This park offers excellent view of the surroundings which include small peaks that are covered by bushes and grass alone. This park comes with adequate area and a canteen is also attached to this park. It is visited by tourists and the people of Pithoragarh on the eve of New Year, holidays, etc.
Kamakhya Devi Temple
This temple is situated on small hills near the Pithoragarh town. From here the tourists can have wonderful view of the surrounding valley. This place is calm and serene and ideal to forget about worldly worries.
This ghat is the confluence of Ramganga as well as Saryu Rivers and is some 36 Kms away from Pithoragarh. A temple for Lord Shiva as well as a temple for Lord Rama is situated here and an annual fair is held during Makar Sankaranti.
It is situated 56 Kms away from Pithoragarh and has an elevation of 2018 m. During winter, the mountain is covered by snow. From here, the tourists can have a magnificent view of the Himalayan peaks. This place offers calm and serene ambience as it is away from the cacophony of the city.
It is located 68 Kms away from Pithoragarh and is a fascinating location. It is located at a confluence of Kali River and Gori River. An annual fair is held during November in which people from different parts of the country as well as people from Nepal visit this place.
It is situated 77 Kms away from Pithoragarh with an elevation of 1800 m. There is an ancient temple for Goddess Kali here. It was also an important pilgrim centre for the people from Kumaon hills. Patal Bhuvaneshwar, popular caves is just 14Km away from Gangolihat. It is a paradise for nature lovers.
It is situated 83 Kms away from Pithoragarh and is in enroute to Kailash Manasarovar as well as Chota Kailash.
This sanctuary is rich in flora as well as fauna and also a nature lover’s paradise. It is 54 Kms away from Pithoragarh and has an altitude of 5412 ft.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located 91 Kms away from Pithoragarh. The pilgrim has to reach this temple through the tunnel which takes them to the cave through a narrow passage of water. Here, the pilgrims will find many rocks which resemble Goddesses and Gods and this cave temple is abode for thousands of Gods. During Shivaratri, several pilgrims visit this temple.
It is place is 72 Kms away from Pithoragarh and has an altitude of 1615 m. It is also the ancient capital of Chand dynasty. It is here that the Kurmavatar (turtle incarnation) of Lord Mahavishnu took place. It is rich is flora and fauna and a paradise for bird watchers.
Services and Utilities in Pithoragarh
Pithoragarh also comes with several public service utilities needed for the smooth life of the people and tourists. Some of the utilities available in Pithoragarh are
Banking Services in Pithoragarh
There are several public and private banks available in Pithoragarh. Let’s see here some of the banks in Pithoragarh.
Pithoragarh is well connected by road to other major cities of the Uttarakhand state. The nearest railway station is at Haldwani as well as Tanakpur. From there, the tourists can take the UPSRTC buses, private buses and taxis to reach Pithoragarh. The nearest airport to Pithoragarh is Pant Nagar domestic airport located some 241 Kms away from Pithoragarh. From there taxis and private and public buses could be taken to reach Pithoragarh.