Pithoragarh, the most important town in this area, is situated at a distance of 62 kms from Lohaghat. At a height of 1650 meters above sea level, it is a place of clement weather and friendly folks. During my few visits to this place, a deep thought came to my mind that this place has the potential of developing as a place for a peaceful holiday. The road distance of course is a concern, but an airstrip has been constructed here and hopefully regular air services will commence soon from Delhi and Dehradun. Some people have called it a mini Kashmir and I would not refute it because it does resemble a beautiful flat undulated valley like many parts of Kashmir. In 1962 when three new districts of Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Pithoragarh were carved out, Pithoragarh became the capital of the district of the same name. The town is on the route to Kailash-Mansarovar and Chhota Kailash. The town has a teeming population of over thirty thousand. A few modern hotels and tourist accommodations have come up during the last few years. For accommodation please refer to appendix – Accommodation in Uttarakhand.
The Government sponsored Kailash-Mansarovar yatra passes through this town. The route to Kailash and Chhota Kailash is through Dharchula, Tawaghat and Narain Ashram, which is 130 kms from here.
There are several places of tourist interest, prominent among them being the Hanuman Temple, Laxmi Narain Temple, Ram Gufa, Bhatkote and Alkadevi. On the top of a hillock is the Pithoragarh fort built by the Gorkhas during their rule in 1789. A few Government offices are housed in it. The city does not give a good view of Himalayas but only 8 km away an excellent view of the Himalayas is available from the top of Chandak hill. On the outskirts of the town is the cave temple of Kapileshwar Mahadev dedicated to Lord Shiva. And, if you are prepared for some little adventure, you can take a drive of about 20 km for a 5 km trek to Dhwaj Temple located at a height of 2100 mtrs. Once Pithoragarh is connected by regular air service, it can become the staging point for excursions to Askot, Devi Dhura, Lohaghat, Chota Kailash, Munsyari, Chaukori, Patal Bhuvneshwar and other places. All these places are beautiful and can develop into popular tourist spots with Pithoragarh as the nucleus.
Off the route excursion
Askot and Dharchula
Some 54 km from Pithoragarh, not on route to Badrinath, but on route to Kailash Man Sarovar, is the ancient town of Askot from where the Chand rulers ruled the kingdom of Kumaon. For some time the Gorkhas subjugated the Chands, but finally they were pushed out in 1815 when it came under British rule. Askot is supposed to be known for a wild life sanctuary for the conservation of Musk Deer, although nobody has reportedly ever seen one. Area is rich for mineral deposits.
At 48 km from Askot on the bank of Kali Ganga is the township of Dharchula which is the transit station for yatra to Kailash. Kali Ganga is the border line between India and Nepal and a suspension bridge connects Dharchula to Nepal’s Darchula.
Ogla enroute Sri Badrinath
This place is forty-five kilometres ahead of Pithoragarh. Ogla’s only claim to fame is that it is a trijunction for roads coming from Pithoragarh, Dharchula and Didihat.
Travellers going to Badrinath or Kedarnath have to take the road to Didihat from this point.
11 kms from Ogla, this place is a Tehsil Headquarter. Situated at a height of 1910 meters, this picturesque place offers an excellent view of the Panchachuli peaks. There is a Tourist Bungalow here for tourists to stay.
This is a trijunction town, 35 kms from Didihat. From here, the road leading to Chaukori and Bageshwar has to be followed for going to Sri Badrinath and Kedarnath. The other road goes to the picturesque town of Munsyari situated at a height of 1900 mtrs.
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