About Kumaon, Uttarakhand

Snuggled in the foothills of the majestic Himalayas, Kumaon is located in Uttarakhand, the northern hill province of India. Its cool and fresh mountain breeze, the ethereal Himalayan scenic view, tall swaying Pine and Deodar trees, and the rolling cultivation of hill crops would captivate any tourist. Kumaon has its own distinct and impressive tradition, festivals and culture. Its people are brave, hard - working and honest.

Festivals

Nanda Devi Fair
The best known fair of Kumaon Division is Nanda Devi Fair. It is orgnised in many places like Almora, Nainital, Bageshwar, Bhowali, Kot (Dangoli) and also in the far flung villages of Johar ( like Milam and Martoli ) of Kumaon during the month of September. Main fair is held at Almora town, it is organized since the Chand kings ruled this place. It is believed that 'Nanda' used to be the family Goddess of Chanda dynasty. The meaning of the word 'Nanda' is prosperity. The temple of 'Nanda' in Almora was built by Dyot Chanda in seventeenth century, the then ruler of this place. Presently this temple remains the core of the festival. The duration of the festival is five days and approximately twenty five thousand tourists come to attend this festival. Nanda Devi Fair is also organized at Nainital, where a week long festival is held at the Nanda Devi temple. At last a great procession of Maa Nanda Devi is organised in the city.
Purnagiri Mela
Purnagiri Mela is organised at Purnagiri Temple during Chaitra Navratri in the month of March - April . A large number of devotees visit Purnagiri during this period. The surrounding valleys echo with the holy chantings of the devotees climbing up to the top for darshan, creating an atmosphere of spirituality. From Purnagiri, the River Kali descends into the plains and is known as Sharda. It is situated at a height of 3000 mts. above sea level and is 20 kms. from Tanakpur. For visiting this shrine one can go to Thuligaarh by vehicle. From here one has to trek (the road is under construction upto Tunyas). After the ascent of Bans ki Charhai comes Awalakhan (the new name is Hanuman Chatti). The south - western part of 'Punya Parvat' can be seen from this place. Another ascent ends at the TRC of Tanki. The region has temporary shops and residential huts start from here upto Tunyas. From the highest point (the temple) of Purnagiri hill the pilgrim can see the expanse of Kali, its islands, the township of Tanakpur and a few Nepali villages. The old Buram Deo Mandi is very close to Purnagiri. From Tanakpur or Purnagiri it is possible to trek to Tamli and even to Jhulaghat along the Kali river.
Bagwal (Devidhura Mela)
A very unusual fair, which attracts people from Kumaon, Nepal, and even other places, is held every year at the temple of Maa Barahi Devi, Devidhura on Raksha Bandhan day. During this festival, known as Bagwal, two groups of dancing and singing people throw stones at each other, while they try to protect themselves with the help of large wooden shields.
Chaiti Fair
This fair takes place at Chaiti in Kashipur during Basant Navratras. A large number of people including those from farflung areas participate in this fair. The Chaiti temple is situated at a distance of 2.5 Kms. from Kashipur bus station on Kashipur-Bazpur route.
Uttarayani Fair
This fair is held in a number of places of Kumaun including Bageshwar, Chitrashila (Ranibagh), Rameshwar, Sult Mahadev and Hanseshwar etc. on Utarayani day (Makar Sankranti). At Pancheshwar the dola of Chaumu comes down to the temple.Merchants from far off distances like Tibet and Nepal come to the fair for brisk trading. Among the things bought and sold are blankets, durries, cane & bamboo articles. The fair at Bageshwar attracts maximum people. Its commercial, cultural and political importance is still very high. Goods like iron and copper pots, baskets, bamboo articles, mats, herbs and spices mattresses, carpets, blankets, are sold during this fair. The Uttarayani fairs are often used as platforms by social and political workers and Bageshwar fair specially has played an important role in all the local movements. At Haldwani a large procession is organized on this day. A number of people from Kumaon participate in this procession.

Cuisines

Kumaon has its own distinct and impressive traditions, festivals and fairs. Its people are brave, hard-working and honest and its cuisine is high on taste and nutrition. The food Habits of Kumaonies change according to the seasons. So if in winters, Manira , Til Laddus or Madua Rotis are preferred, in summers, Dubukas with Cholia Rotis are savoured. To actually enjoy a calm, cool and enchanting trip to Kumaon, tourists should not miss the exquisite cuisine and enchanting culture of the region.

Kumaon's Education Scenario

Kumaon has been a big contributor to this success as the towns like Almora and Bageshwar boast of a literacy rate of 75% and 72%, respectively.

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