Kumaon is the administrative division of the state of Uttarakhand along with Garhwal. The districts of Champawat, Nainital, Almora, Bageshwar, Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar, lie under the administration of Kumaon. The region is bounded by Tibet in the north, Uttar Pradesh in the south, Nepal in the east, and Garhwal in the west. The local language of this region is Kumaoni and some of its prominent towns include Nainital, Almora, Haldwani, Mukteshwar, Pithoragarh, Kashipur, Rudrapur and Ranikhet.
The name of the place has been derived from the word ‘Kurmanchal’, which means Kurmavtar. ‘Kurmavtar’ is the tortoise avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu. This place is also famous for its famed army regiment called the Kumaon Regiment. Various fairs and festivals like Nanda Devi Mela, Chaiti Mela, Hilljatra, Bagwal, Uttarayani Mela and Kandali are organised in the region with great enthusiasm.
Tourist places in and around Kumaon
Abbott Mount is a beautiful hill, which has only 13 cottages, which were constructed during the British reign in India. Mr. John Harold Abbott’s bungalows are situated amid snow covered mountains and dense oak & deodar trees. Apart from this, tourists can also see Om or Adi Kailash Mountain, which is situated at an altitude of 6191 m. The mountain is also known by names like Baba Kailash and Jonglingkong Peak or Little Kailash. This place is popular among the tourists for the OM or AUM shaped snow settlement on the peak, which has a resemblance with that of the Mount Kailash of Tibet.
Milam Glacier is another popular tourist destination, which is situated at an altitude ranging from 5,500 metres to 3,870 metres. This glacier, which spreads across an area of 37 sq. km is the largest glacier of the Kumaon region. Tourists can make Munsiyari as their trekking base for reaching this glacier. The trekking route traverses through waterfalls, forests and villages, all of which are beautiful sites for tourists to see. Pindari Glacier, situated at an altitude of 3627 m, is another popular tourist attraction of Kumaon. It is located amidst the peaks of Nandakot and Nanda devi, in the district of Bageshwar. This glacier gives rise to Pindari River while flowing to the south.
Munsiyari is yet another magnificent tourist spot, which is situated at an elevation of 2298 m above sea level. Located amid Himalayas, this place offers splendid views of Trishul, Nanda Devi, and Panchachuli Peaks. The scenic beauty of the place is further enhanced by trees of pine, deodar, and rhododendrons. While roaming around, travellers can also find different species of flora and fauna. Munsiyari also serves as the trekking base for Nanda Devi Peak, Ralam, and Milam and Namik. Skiing and other winter sports are also developing fast in the region, to attract more and more tourists to the place. Sunderdhunga, situated to the west of the Pindar Valley is a prominent tourist spot, where travellers can find two glaciers, namely Matkoti and Sukhram. The literal meaning of the word Sunderdhunga is ‘valley of beautiful stones’.
How to reach Kumaon
The nearest airbase to Kumaon is the airport situated in Pantnagar, which is linked to major cities of India. Kathgodam is the nearest railway station from Kumaon, which is linked to different cities of India including Lucknow, Howrah, and Delhi. Travellers who are interested to go by road can avail bus services from nearby cities of Uttarakhand.
The weather of Kumaon remains pleasant throughout the year. However, travellers who are planning to visit Kumaon during the winters are advised to carry requisite woollen clothes. Also, those planning a visit to this place during the monsoons are advised to carry adequate monsoon gear.