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Pithoragarh district

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Pithoragarh district
Panchchuli peaks at Sunset from Chaukori, View of Didihat, sunrise over Pithoragarh, view of Munsiyari, street in Berinag
Mini Kashmir
Location in Uttarakhand
Location in Uttarakhand
Pithoragarh district
Coordinates: 30°00′N 80°20′E / 30.000°N 80.333°E / 30.000; 80.333
Country India
 • District collectorReena Joshi, IAS[1]
 • Total7,110 km2 (2,750 sq mi)
 • Total483,439
 • Density69/km2 (180/sq mi)
 • officialHindi
 • NativeKumaoni
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Telephone code91 5964
Vehicle registrationUK-05

Pithoragarh district is the easternmost district in the state of Uttarakhand. It is located in the Himalayas and has an area of 7,110 km2 (2,750 sq mi) and a population of 483,439 (as of 2011). The city of Pithoragarh, 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 which originates from the Kalagiri Mountain flows south, forming the eastern border with Nepal.[2] 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: Munsyari; Dharchula; Didihat; Berinag; Gangolihat; and Pithoragarh. Naini Saini Airport is the nearest civil airport, but it does not have a regular scheduled commercial passenger service. The mineral deposits present in the district are magnesium ore, copper ore, limestone, and slate. There are 11 tehsils.


Some attribute the name to King Prithvi Pal (Had his empire to Nainital & parts of UP) / Piru Gusain (Gusain refers to the younger son of a King), here the younger son of King of Askote (Pal)/ Pithora Shahi/ Pithora Chand from the Chand Dynasty, who built a fort named Pithora Garh in the Saur Valley.


Pals (Branch of Katyuri kings)

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

A village of Pithoragarh district

According to a Tamra Patra (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

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. 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. Archaeological surveys point toward the development of culture and art forms in this period.

Modern history

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.

The Bhotiya communities living in the Pithoragarh district historically practised transhumance between summer villages located at higher altitudes, close to the border with Tibet, and winter settlements located at lower altitudes, close to the Himalayan foothills and the Gangetic plains. With transhumance as a base, many of them would engage in annual trade visits to market towns such as Taklakot in western Tibet, and some would practice nomadic pastoralism as well. This way of life came to an abrupt end in the 1962 due to the Sino-Indian War. Trans-Himalayan trade was allowed again since the under 1990s. But unlike in the past, it was now to be conducted under state-imposed regulations and limitations, and was allowed only across the Pithoragarh district's Lipu Lekh pass, whereas in earlier times, in Kumaon and Garwhal, the Trans-Himalayan trade had been conducted across several passes.[3]

In 1997, part of the Pithoragarh district was cut out to form the new Champawat district.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Religions in Pithoragarh district (2011)[5]
Religion Percent
Other or not stated
Distribution of religions

According to the 2011 census Pithoragarh district has a population of 483,439, roughly equal to the nation of Suriname.[6] 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%. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes make up 24.90% and 4.04% of the population respectively.[7]

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.


Languages of Pithoragarh district (2011)[8]

  Kumaoni (87.68%)
  Hindi (7.36%)
  Nepali (1.50%)
  Bhotia (1.49%)
  Others (1.97%)

Kumaoni, with its several dialects, is the most widely spoken language.[8] Hindi is the common language between the locals and outsiders, and English is spoken by some people, especially teachers, lecturers, and students in tertiary education.

Several Sino-Tibetan languages of the West Himalayish branch are spoken by small communities. These include the three closely related languages of Byangsi, Chaudangsi, and Darmiya, as well as Rangkas & Rawat.[9] The Van Rawat tribe speaks their own variety of Kumaoni.[citation needed]

Pithoragarh district: mother-tongue of population, according to the 2011 Indian Census.[8]
Mother tongue code Mother tongue People Percentage
002007 Bengali 414 0.1%
004001 Dogri 396 0.1%
006102 Bhojpuri 1,654 0.3%
006195 Garhwali 1,634 0.3%
006240 Hindi 35,590 7.4%
006340 Kumauni 423,862 87.7%
006439 Pahari 653 0.1%
013071 Marathi 281 0.1%
014011 Nepali 7,259 1.5%
016038 Punjabi 383 0.1%
022015 Urdu 1,224 0.3%
031001 Bhotia (also called "Jad") 1,325 0.3%
046003 Halam 5,623 1.2%
103003 Rai 263 0.1%
Others 2,878 0.6%
Total 483,439 100.0%

Assembly Constituencies

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


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 wide range of 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).Sati, Vishwambhar Prasad; Kumar, Kamlesh (2004). Uttaranchal: Dilemma of Plenties and Scarcities. Mittal Publications. ISBN 8170998980. 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

Glaciers of Pithoragarh

Locally, glaciers are known as Gal. Some important glaciers of the district 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
  • Northern Lwanl
  • Middle Lwanl
  • Lower Lwanl
  • Bamlas Glacier
  • Baldimga Glacier
  • Terahar Glacier
  • Poting Glacier
  • Talkot Glacier
  • Sankalpa Glacier
  • Lassar Glacier
  • Upper Lassar
  • Lower Lassar
  • Middle Lassar
  • Dhauli Glacier
  • Baling Golfu Glacier
  • Dhauli Glacier
  • Sobla Tejam Glacier
  • Kali Glacier
  • Kuti Glacier
  • Yangti Basin Glacier
  • Lower Dhauli
  • Middle Dhauli
  • Upper Dhauli
  • Lower Kali
  • Upper Kali

Himalayan peaks of Pithoragarh

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 6,310
Om Parvat 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
Gelding 50,29
Dunkhan 5'035
Halsyun 5'105
Lalla We 6'123
Adi Kailash 6'321
Rajrambha 6'537
Deo Damia 6'632
Bamchhu 6'302
Syakaram 6'258
Mangron 6'565
Latu Dhura 6'389
Bati ka Dhura 5'858
Nanda Lapak 5'782
Kalchhu Dhura 5'421
Mapa Dhura 5'206

Mountain passes of Pithoragarh

International passes to Tibet

Pass Height (m)
Lampiya Dhura 5,530
Lipu-Lekh pass 5,450
Lowe Dhura 5,562
Mangshya Dhura 5,630
Nuwe Dhura 5,650
Kungri Bingri Pass 5,564

Intra-district Himalayan passes

Pass Height (m)
Ghantesh Baba 5,164
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 5,350
Yangkchar Dhura 4,800
Rur Khan 3,800
Bainti Col 5,100
Longstaff Col 5,910

Valleys of Pithoragarh

  • Vyas valley (includes Kuthi Valley and the valley of Kalapani River)
  • Kuti-Yangti Valley : Kuti-Yangti valley has 112 glaciers. The passes of Kuti valley Lampiya Dhura (5,553 m), Nuwe Dhura (5,650 m)
  • Chaudans valley
  • Darma Valley
  • Goriganga valley : Goriganga has 128 glaciers with largest Milam glacier having 18 km in length.
  • Dhauliganga valley : Those are source of several streams and rivers. Maximum 135 glaciers found in the Dhauliganga valley.
  • Johar Valley
  • Kalabaland valley
  • Kali valley : Lipu Lekh Pass (5,122 m) (India, Tibet, Nepal)
  • Lassar Yangti valley
  • Ralam valley
  • Saur valley
  • Ramganga valley :There are 7 glaciers in Ramganga valley and Namik is largest with 2.4 square Km in size.
  • Saryu /Sarju Valley
  • Gori Gunkha valley : Belcha Dhura pass (5,384 m), Kungri Bhingri Pass (5,564 m), Keo Dhura pass (5,439 m)


A wide variety of flora exists 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

  • Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary is a 599.93 km2 wildlife sanctuary located around Askot near Didihat, in Pithoragarh district of the Himalaya of Kumaon in Uttarakhand, India.
  • Berinag is a hill station located 102 km from Pithoragarh at an altitude of 2010 m.[10]
  • Chaukori is a hill station located 10 km from Berinag, also with an altitude of 2010 m.
  • Munsyari is a hill station in the northern part of the Pithoragarh district. The valley from Munsyari to Milam is known as Johar Valley.
  • Pithoragarh Fort is set atop a hill on the outskirts of the town and now serves as a museum.
  • Mostamanu Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Mosta, an avatar of Lord Shiva.[11]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "सीमांत जिले पिथौरागढ़ में पहली बार महिला जिलाधिकारी तैनात, बागेश्वर में भी महिला डीएम, देखें किसे मिली कमान". Dainik Jagran (in Hindi). Retrieved 29 October 2022.
  2. ^ Hoon, Vineeta (1996), Living on the Move: Bhotiyas of the Kumaon Himalaya, Sage Publications, p. 48, ISBN 978-0-8039-9325-9: "The river Kaliganga forms a natural boundary between India and Nepal. It has two headwaters: the eastern one Kalapani is a collection of springs, and the western one Kutiyankti [Kuthi Yankti] rises from the snow fields of the Himadri near Kuti, the last Bhotiya village in Vyas."
  3. ^ Pandey, Abhimanyu; Pradhan, Nawraj; Chaudhari, Swapnil; Ghate, Rucha (2 January 2017). "Withering of traditional institutions? An institutional analysis of the decline of migratory pastoralism in the rangelands of the Kailash Sacred Landscape, western Himalayas". Environmental Sociology. 3 (1): 87–100. Bibcode:2017EnvSo...3...87P. doi:10.1080/23251042.2016.1272179.
  4. ^ Decadal Variation In Population Since 1901
  5. ^ "Table C-01 Population by Religion: Uttarakhand". Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. 2011.
  6. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2011. Suriname 491,989 July 2011 est.
  7. ^ "District Census 2011". 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  8. ^ a b c "Table C-16 Population by Mother Tongue: Uttarakhand". Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.
  9. ^ Eberhard, David M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2019). "India – Languages". Ethnologue (22nd ed.). SIL International.
  10. ^ "Berinag Travel Guide – Berinag Uttarakhand Tourism, Travel Tips". Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  11. ^ "Mostamanu Temple Pithoragarh | Mosta Manu Mandir Travel Guide". Retrieved 14 February 2022.
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Pithoragarh district
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