Everything you need to know about Kumaon
Simplicity, Innocence, and Nature—That’s how you can define the Kumaon and Kumaoni people of Uttarakhand.
Still, to justify Kumaon with a few words won’t be fair to its heritage since it is full of wonders.
Kumaon is one of the two Mandals in Uttarakhand, India. Exceptionally rich in nature and peace, it consists of three zones: Bhabhar, Terai, and hilly regions. This region of Uttarakhand has a fascinating history, culture, and traditions adding up to its significance. The geographical difference in this region is so dramatic that you can imagine one part freezing cold and the other part boiling hot at the same time of the year.
History and significance of Kumaon:
The history of the Kumaon region goes way back to the stone age. This belief is backed by the pre-historic life found in the Nainital and Almora regions of Kumaon.
Like any other country, Kumaon also witnessed its rise and downfall since it was independent then. Kuninda was the first dynasty to rule the central Himalayan region, including the Kumaon region. After that, Kumaon witnessed many powerful dynasties like Katyuri and Chand.
Katyuri Dynasty: During the reign of the Katyuri Dynasty, the Kumaon region was known as “Kurmanchal” (The name was based on the Kurma avatar of lord Vishnu). The Katyuri dynasty ruled around the 7th to 11th century AD. It is said that this mighty dynasty also ruled over Kabul, Afghanistan.
The famous folksong ‘Mami Tile Dharo Bola’ became popular during the reign of King Vir Dev, one of the Katyuri rulers, notorious for his tyrannical rule. You can also find the mention of Kumaon in Manaskhand and Skanda Purana (Hindu scriptures).
Chand Dynasty : The Chand dynasty came after the Katyuris which became one of the most influential dynasties in the Kumaon region. You can still visit the Malla Mahal, a palace built for Chand rulers in Almora and experience its grandiosity. Chand dynasty flourished to decline and witnessed its demise in the 18th century when the Gorkhas attacked the Kumaon region. The Gorkhas won the battle and ruled the Kumaon region for 24 years. Kumaon was won back by the British in 1816 under the treaty of Sugauli.
During the British reign, Kumaon flourished in terms of discoveries and became a favourite retreat during the summer season for them. Nainital, Mussoorie, Ranikhet, Kausani, and Almora are still famous for tourism and the peaceful environment among tourists in the Kumaon region.
The first National Park for wildlife conservation was also founded in Ramnagar by a British Naturalist and Hunter, Jim Corbett. He has written many books like Man-eaters of Kumaon and Jungle Stories dedicated to Kumaon.
Kumaon was part of the United Province (Modern day Uttar Pradesh) until 9 November 2000. After that, it was merged with the newly constituted state of Uttaranchal (Modern day Uttarakhand).
Geography and weather of Kumaon:
Kumaon is kaleidoscopic when it comes to its geography. From the incredible Nanda Devi peak (7,816meter) to the renowned Corbett National Park, it has Terai-Bhabhar (plains), and Hilly terrain. Both are scenic in their own sense. Kumaon region is rich in wildlife but also has one of the largest industrial cities in Uttarakhand, Rudrapur.
Geography & Landforms: The Kumaon region is surrounded by Nepal (East)¸Garhwal region (West), Tibet (North), and Uttar Pradesh (South). Both plains and the hilly areas are rich in wildlife and lush green forests.
The Kumaon Himalayas stretch from Kali to Sutlej River, bordering the west-central Himalayas. These Himalayas are part of the Great Himalayas (North) and Siwalik Range (South).
Kumaon region of Uttarakhand has some majestic Glaciers, Mountain passes, and Trekking Trails. It has become a safe haven for trekkers all around the world. Milam Glacier, Pindari Glacier, Kafni Glacier, and Namik Glacier are some of the renowned glaciers of this region. Lipulekh pass, Sin La pass, Traill’s pass, and Nama pass are some known passes in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.
The glaciers supplement the river like Ganga. The main rivers in this region are Kali, Dhauliganga, Pindar, Sharda, and Goriganga.
Climate: You can’t fathom the climate of Kumaon since every region has its own weather pattern, and the temperature difference is crazy. Generally, the plains have a high temperature that can
go beyond 40℃ in summer while in the hilly region, you can witness freezing cold and a temperature below 5℃ at the same time of the year.
People and culture of Kumaon:
The people of Kumaon are hard-working. They are known for their innocence, simplicity, honesty, and resilience. Farming is the main occupation of the locals here. In the plains, people are involved in different businesses and industries as well.
But the main source of survival is agriculture and cattle rearing in the hilly regions. The crop diversity in the Kumaon region is high. You can also witness terrace farming in the hilly region.
This region is also rich in culture. The people worship nature and local deities here, and local festivals are mainly focused on human bonds and nature.
Some of the famous festivals of the Kumaon region are Ghughutiya, Harela, and Khatarua. Aipan is a very famous folk art practised in the Kumaon region. Alongside different festivities, cultural differences exist regionally.
You can also witness a unique dressing style here. Women wear saree or salwar kameezes, and men wear shirt-pants, Kurta-Payjama and Pahadi topi (cap).
Despite being rich in forest and wildlife resources, people in the hilly region migrate to cities for a better life. Migration has become a curse for the hilly region of Kumaon.
Wildlife and Tourism in Kumaon:
At present, the Kumaon region has become an attractive destination for the movie industry, tourism, and wildlife enthusiast. It has also become a hub for spiritual and adventurous quests. Thousands of people around the world visit Kumaon for its beauty, but Kumaon has much more to offer.
More than 2000 bird species and subspecies are found in Corbett. Apart from Corbett National Park, Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary, and Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary are also located in the Kumaon region.
Hill stations like Nainital, Mussoorie, Mukteshwar, Binsar, and Munsyari have become a second home to city dwellers during summer.
Kumaon region of Uttarakhand is rich in historical, spiritual, natural, and cultural aspects. If you ever plan to visit the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, check out one of the best stays in the area, Hotel Rudra Continental. It is located in Rudrapur and offers you the best hospitality services.