Pithoragarh Culture And Heritage

पिथौरागढ़ संस्कृति और विरासत

Pithoragarh is very famous for its spectacular natural beauty, which attracts many tourists from different parts of the country and the world. Another reason to visit Pithoragarh is to experience the rich cultural heritage as the district has many heritage sites that served as summer retreats during the colonial period.The best way to see these famous monuments in Uttarakhand is on a road trip which also provides an opportunity to see the green or snow-capped hills on the way.

Heritage and Culture of Pithoragarh

The town of Pithoragarh is known for its significant history as well as for being a historical landmark. Pithoragarh is endowed with culture and Heritage. The fairs of Pithoragarh are an expression of the religious, social and the culture of the people and it also have sustained the folk cultural and have been central to the economic activities of the people. Some fairs like Jauljibi and Thal fairs are primarily trade fairs.

Fairs and Festivals of Pithoragarh:

Kandali festival:

festival also known as kriji festival is celebrated every 12years as kandali flower blooms after every 12 years by the jyotiya or jainila people during august-october in the chaudans region. The festival celebrates the defeat of Zorowar Singh's army from Ladakh which attacked the region in 1841. The victory is celebrated by singing and dancing in folk songs and uprooting the Kandali plant. in the week-long festival with joy and enthusiasm in various villages throughout the region. The festival begins with the worship of a Shiva linga made of a flour mixture of barley and buckwheat. During this festival, local liquor is traditionally consumed. It is performed in a decorated corner of the courtyard by each household. People pray for good fortune. The individual Poojas are followed by a community feast. Then, the women and men, in traditional dresses and laden with gold and silver ornaments, assemble around a tree on the sacred ground of the village. Strips of white cloth are tied to the tree and a flag is raised.

Hilljatra Festival:

is a pastoralists and agriculturalist’s festival, which is celebrated in the Kumor village of Pithoragarh region of Uttarakhand, eight days after the festival of 'Gor-Maheshwar', during the month of Bhadra. The Hill Jatra is related to ropai (the plantation of paddy) and other agricultural and pastoral labours of the rainy season. The people of Bajethi, another village near Pithoragarh, observed the Jatra, and it was modified and introduced as Hiran chital in the Kanalichhina and Askot regions also. The center attraction of the Hilljatra festival is White Clothed deer, which is the worshipped as regional God. The festival is celebrated in different phases:

  • 1st Phase: Sacrifice of goat with all the rituals.
  • 2nd Phase- Dramatic presentations of pastoral and agricultural activities are performed for public.
  • Final phase- Traditional songs are sung along with dance.

The Nanda devi fair:

The fair was initiated by King Kalyan Chand of Chand Dynasty of Garhwal in the 16th century to showcase the economic and cultural prosperity of different regions. People take part in the parade which carries the dola (litter) of Goddess Nanda Devi. The yatra continues for three long weeks and people from different parts are seen to participate in it. The yatra begins from Nauti village near Karna Prayag and goes up to the heights of RoopKund and Hemkund with a four-horned sheep. A lot of hand-made goods made by the rural community craftsmen are brought for sale. The Nandadevi fair is held at Almora, Nainital, Kot (Dangoli) and also in the far flung villages of Johar . In Johar, people come from far and wide to Danadhar, Suring, Milam and Martoli in order to worship the Goddess. The goddess Nandadevi is worshipped at dozens of places in kumaun and garhwal, but the region around mt. nanda devi. and its sanctuary, which falls in the district of pithoragarh . Almora and chamoli district, is the prime area related to nanda devi.

Chhipla kedar Yatra:

kedar yatra/chhipla jaat yatra celebrated once in three years in the hindu months of sawan and bhadrapad at the high altitude of dharchula and munsyari . Chhiplakote is situated in the heart land of Kali and Gori rivers,south of Panchchuli mountains.The highest point of this mountain-Najurikund (4497m) – is the seat of Chhipla Kedar. A barefoot journey starts from the village. It goes through the thick forests, rocky lands and bugyals.The dhami burha or bonia finalizes the dates of the jaat (journey). With folk drums, bhankaras (metalic pipe instrument) and neja (the flag of red cloth pieces collected from all the families of the villages) the jaat goes to Barmano, which is 6 Km from Khela. On the second day the yatris go through a thick oak forest. From this point one can have a glimpse of Chaudans region and the peaks of W. Nepal. On the third day the route is on the back of Najurikote, which is full of buggi grass and brahmkamals (Saussurea obvallata). At Kedardwe pond sacred dips are taken and the worship is performed.

Chaitol festival:

the village of Aath-gaon Shilling, Bin, Saatshiling, Chaunser etc., chaittol is celebrated on the Astami and Nawmi of Chaitra. On this occasion the deity Deval samet who in fact is a human medium possessed by the deity, is taken around in a dola . The temples dedicated to this God are situated in Bin, Chensor, Kasni, Jakhni and Bharkatia villages. At the beginning and end of Chaittol the villages assemble, sing in chorus and join hands in rustic dance to the beat of the drums and hurka in gay abandon and the whole process of merry-making is called Khel in local language.The whole paraphernalia of the chaittol includes Dola , Chattra, nissan , golden Janevo , morpankh , tails of the chanwar cow , silver Dhagula , Chunni, traditional costumes including jhagula for dhami, the cover over the chatra and a length of rope. With the brush made of the tail of chanwar cow the deity exorcises evil spirits and the rope is used to raise and lower the dola when carried through the difficult mountainous terrains. The deity Deval samet, i.e., the possessed medium, is danced in the mode of Tandava Nritya in 22 villages.

Makar Sankranti:

Sankranti is a famous festival celebrated in Pithorgarh or in many other states of india. For the people of Uttarakhand, pithoragarh this festival marks the change of season. As per the Hindu religious texts, Makar Sankranti marks the day of Uttarayani, i.e., the sun has entered the zodiacal sign of 'makar' (Capricorn) from 'kark' (cancer) and has thus started moving towards the north. On this day, people worship the sun at sunrise and bathe in the river waters. The locals prepare Khichdi and til ke laddoo. The popular fair of Uttarayani also takes place during this time. Makar Sankranti is also known as Uttarayan ; Maghi or simply Sankranti. Makar Sankranti is one of the few ancient Indian festivals that has been observed according to solar cycles, while most festivals are set by the lunar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar Being a festival that celebrates the solar cycle, it almost always falls on the same Gregorian date every year (January 14) except in some years when the date shifts by a day for that year (January 15) As a result, it can fall on different date of the Hindu calendar each year. During the time of Makar Sankranti, Ghughutiya or Kale Kauva is also celebrated in Pithoragarh. The locals prepare sweets made from deep-fried flour in different shapes like knives, swords, etc. The locals welcome them by feeding the crows and migratory birds and hope that they come back next year. The children also sing songs to attract these migratory birds.

Phool Dei:

A significant harvest festival, Phool Dei is a reverence paid to the gods for the good crop year. It takes place on the first day of the Chaitra season (March-April) as per the Hindu calendar and is also known as the harvest festival. It is the time when flowers blossom and this is accompanied by the ceremonial pudding called dei which is made by the locals using jaggery or gud, curd and flour. This dish is an integral part of the festival.It is on this occasion little girls decorate the threshold of the houses with freshly picked flowers.. They go from house to house, singing the folk song of 'Phool Dei' with jaggery, rice, and coconut offering. It is believed that they bless the homes by placing flowers and rice on the doorsteps. In return, the young girls are offered sweets and blessings for their act.

Basant Panchami:

Basant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day (Panchami) of Magh month Shukla Paksha every year as it is believed that Goddess Durga gave birth to Goddess Saraswati.Basant Panchami is the festival that celebrates the coming of Basant or Spring season. It is a significant festival. It marks the end of winter, a season of death and decay. The locals dress themselves up in yellow clothing, perform Chounphula and Jhumelia dances and fly kites. They worship Saraswati, goddess of knowledge and prosperity and the land. Sweet rice is made in almost every home. The occasion also marks the beginning of the preparations for Holi, which is celebrated after forty days of the Saraswati Puja.


Every season has some festivals, and each festival is celebrated appropriately. Harela means 'day of green' and is celebrated in the month of Shravan (the fifth month of the Hindu lunar calendar) to worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The people belonging to the Kumaon community celebrate this festival during the month of Shravana, i.e., July-August. Mythologically, this festival commemorates the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati. People make small idols or dikars of gods like Maheshwar, Ganesh. This festival is followed by Bhitauli, which is celebrated in the month of Chaitra, i.e., March - April. It revolves around agriculture where women sow seeds in the soil and by the end of the festival they reap the harvest which is called harela. This allows them to test the quality of their seeds. During this festival, brothers also provide gifts for their sisters.
There are many more festivals and fairs celebrated in Pithoragarh which are equally popular as the given one. These fairs and festivals includes Mostyamanu fair ,Fair of Chaupkya, Jauljibi fair, Kapileshwar Fair, Thalkedar Fair, Fair of dhwaj, Fair of Lacher

Darma Valley


Narayan Aashram