Bearing much resemblance to the valley of Kashmir, Pithoragarh is a gorgeous destination in western part of Soar Valley in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. However, it is much smaller than Kashmir but only on the scale of geography and not in the scale of its charm. Proposing the finest view of the Himalayas, the district shares its borders with both Nepal and Tibet.
Some of the best glaciers in the world such as Sunder Dhunga Glacier, Ralam Glacier, Milam Glacier and Namik Glacier also belong to the district of Pithoragarh. It is an important landmark during the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. The spot is also a heritor of many lakes, ancient temples and shrines. An ideal holiday destination for all the lovers of leisure and nature, the small valley is splendidly surrounded by green forests.
Major Tourist Attractions
- Dhwaj Temple – Situated at a height of 2100 m, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Jayanti. The surroundings of the temple are truely spellbinding and offer an unparalleled view of the snow clad peaks of Himalayas.
- Kapileshwar Mahadev – Located at a distance of 3km from Pithoragarh, this is another popular shrine and a must visit spot of Pithoragarh. Exquisitely devoted to Lord Shiva, this one is a cave temple. From here one can experience the beauty of Himalayas in a complete and pure form.
- Mumsyari – A connecting point to Milam, Ralam and Namik Glacier, this place in Pithoragarh is at a height of 2135 m and a perfect place to be at for those who are fond of trekking adventures.
- Nag Mandir – Situated 1 km further uphill from Pithoragarh, this is a temple constructed in shape of a snake. Festivals of Nag Panchami and Shivratri are the times when maximum numbers of devotees visit this temple. There are several mythological stories associated with this temple, one of them being that this place used to be surrounded by colourful snakes at some time in history owing to which the temple came to be known as Nagmandir.
- Chandak – Only 7km away from the valley of Pithoragarh lies Chandak, a place that offers some really sensational views of the gigantic and picturesque Himalayas. While on an outing to Chandak, tourists can also pay a visit to the famous Manu Temple. It is also a place where adventure diehards can enjoy trekking and hang gliding.
Other places that can be visited by tourists on a trip of Pithoragarh are as follows
- Thai Kedar
- Naraina Ashram
- Patal Bhuneshwar
- Askot Sanctuary
Fairs and Festivals
Pithoragarh has a rich culture and religious heritage attached with it. People of Pithoragarh celebrate all major Hindu festivals with great fervour and enthusiasm. These festivals also accompany very famous fairs which cater thousands of people from different parts of the country. Apart from major Hindu festivals like Diwali, Makar Sakranti, Holi, Ram Navmi, Raksha Bandhan and Janmashtami, the important religious festivals and fairs that are celebrated here are as follows:
- Hill Jatra: It is one of the most important festivals of Pithoragarh which is celebrated in the month of August and September every year. This festival is celebrated in three parts where, in the first part sacrifice of goats is performed with many rituals and offerings to their Gods followed by agricultural activities in the second part of the festival. In the last part, late night cultural performance, folk dances and recitation of traditional songs are performed.
- Thal fair: It is a very famous fair held during the occasion of Vaishakh Sankranti and is celebrated on 14th April every year.
- Jaul Jibi: It is another famous trade fair held at Jauljibi, a place located at a distance of 68 Km from Pithoragarh. This fair is held every year on the occasion of Makar Sakranti and witnesses huge fanfare and local participation. People sell and buy horses, food and leather products during this fair.
- Punyagiri Festival and Fair: It is one of the longest fair which is worshipped and celebrated by thousands of people living in Kumaon. It lasts for forty days and is held at Punyagiri Shaktipeeth during the months of March-April.
- Dhwaj Fair: This fair is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is held at Dhwaj Temple on the occasion of Shivarathri. Many devotees and people come from all over Pithoragarh to celebrate this event.
Best time to Visit
The best time to visit Pithoragarh is during summers between April and June when the atmosphere is pleasant and climate is moderate. Usually, this place witnesses temperature ranging from 70 C– 20 0C during this time. Moderate rainfall starts in August and lasts upto November. Between December and March, there are chilly winters and it is not the preferable time for tourists to come over to this place.
How to Reach
By Air – Pantnagar airport is the nearest airport from Pithoragarh located at a distance of about 240 Km from the main city. Lots of taxis and buses are available from the airport for the visitors to reach their preferred destination in Pithoragarh.
By Rail – Tanakpur Railway Station is the main and nearest railway station from Pithoragarh located at a distance of about 138 Kms from the main city. There are many taxis and buses available outside the railway station for the tourist to reach their planned destination in Pithoragarh.
By Road – Pithoragarh is very well connected via road network with all the main cities of Uttarakhand. Many roadways buses and private taxis commute on these routes for the convenience of the tourist and devotees willing to reach Pithoragarh by road network.
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