At an altitude of 1650 m above sea level, Pithoragarh is a beautiful valley in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Its raw beauty has earned itself the moniker "Little Kashmir". It constitutes a small area, about 5 km long and 3 km wide. Therefore, it can be compared to an exclusive, chartered vacation spot.
It is named after its district, Pithoragarh. The view of the mountains of Nanda Devi, Panchachuli and Appee of Nepal is unparalleled from Chandak Hill. Chandak Hill is located at a height of 2000 m above sea level. The panoramic view of Soar Valley is something that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
Pithoragarh is home to many glaciers. Some of the important ones are Ralam, Milam, Namik, Meola and Balati glaciers. Pithoragarh is known for its wooden and cane handicrafts. It is also famous for woolen clothes. Many pilgrims stop over here before they head to Kailash Manasarovar, as it is located on the route.
Best Time To Visit Pithoragarh
Pithoragarh is extremely pleasant during the summers (from April to June) and is perfect for sightseeing. The temperature ranges from 7-20 degree Celsius which is perfect for a hill station vacation.
It is recommended to avoid visiting during monsoons as it experiences heavy rainfall and is very slippery. Landslides are also very common during monsoons. Winters are excruciatingly cold with lot of snow. Unless you want to trek in the Kumaon region, it is best to avoid winters.
How To Reach Pithoragarh
By Air: The nearest airport to Pithoragarh is at Naini Saini (also known as Pithoragarh airstrip), which is 5 km away from Pithoragarh. However, Pantnagar airport in Uttarakhand has better connectivity to Delhi. It is 260 km away from Pithoragarh, and can be reached by a taxi.
By Rail: Tanakpur is the closest railhead to Pithoragarh. It is 138 km away from Pithoragarh. Most pilgrims prefer travelling by train to reach Pithoragarh; therefore, Tanakpur is well connected with the rest of the country.
By Road: Delhi to Pithoragarh is a long drive. It is advisable to break the journey and not drive continuously.
Delhi- Ghaziabad- Rampur- Bareilly- Pilibhit- Tanakpur- Pithoragarh via NH 9. This route runs a total of 523 km and takes 12 h to reach Pithoragarh from Delhi without pitstops.
Delhi- Noida- Aligarh- Budaun- Bareilly- Pilibhit- Tanakpur- Pithoragarh via SH 33 and NH 9. This route runs a total of 591 km and takes 13 h 30 min to complete.
Delhi- Noida- Vrindavan- Agra- Bareilly- Pilibhit- Tanakpur- Pithoragarh. This route is via the Taj Expressway and NH 9. The expanse is 820 km and it takes 15 h to reach Pithoragarh from Delhi.
Route 1 is the shortest route. Start early from Delhi to reach Ghaziabad. The distance between them is 45 km and it should take you an hour and a half to reach. There's nothing much to see in Ghaziabad, but for temples. The Durga Temple is a must see. So are the ISKCON Temple and the Dudheshwarnath Mandir.
Ghaziabad to Rampur is 190 km long and takes 3h 22min to reach. The Rampur Raza Library is a treasure trove for Indo Islamic learnings. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, then you must definitely check out Jim Corbett National Park. It is a long detour from Rampur, but is totally justified when you see the majestic wilderness.
Bareilly has some nice temples like Alaknath Temple, Trivatinath Temple and the Gauri Shankar Mandir. It is 87 km from Rampur. It takes around 1 h and 45 min to reach. Formerly known as Hafizabad, Pilibhit is about 51 km from Bareilly. Chuka beach in Pilibhit is an uncrowded, untapped beach. It is a reservoir of Sarda river barrage.
Pilibhit to Tanakpur is 62 km and takes 1.5 h to reach. Tanakpur offers you the first taste of beauty that is Uttarakhand. Shyamtal is a natural lake that is so beautifully bound by mountains. Banbasa Barrage is a barrage built on river Sharadha. It offers splendid views of the lake formed by the barrage.
Purnagiri temple, Shardha Ghat and the Panchamukhi Mahadev Temple are some of the temples in Tanakpur. Tanakput to Pithoragarh is a long stretch compared to the rest of the journey. It is 147 km and takes 4h 30 min to complete. However, worry not, as you have the gorgeous scenery and marvellous views to keep you company on the bumpy roads.
Places To See In Pithoragarh:
PC: Inder S Kharayat
Kapileshwar Mahadev Temple: A cave temple nestled away in the Soar valley, it is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is about 3 km from the Pithoragarh centre.
Fort Pithorgarh: Built during the Chand period by ruler Prithwi Gusain, this fort is dilapidated now. However, the ruins are a thing of beauty and not to be left out. It is said that Prithvigarh (house of ruler Prithvi) colloquially became Pithoragarh.
Kalika Temple, Gangolihat: It is believed that the Goddess Kali, shifted herself from West Bengal to Gangolihat. The temple is situated in a thick deodar forest. There is also a small fort built by the kings of Chand dynasty.
Dhwaj Temple: This is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Jayanti. Dhwaj temple is situated at an altitude of 2100 m above sea level. You will be blessed with fantastic views of the Himalayas, along with the blessings of Lord Shiva.
Nakuleshwar Temple: This is a temple bearing different architecture than the rest of Kumaoni temples. It follows Khajuraho aesthetics in recording the human form. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.