- Popular For: Nature lovers, Architecture Enthusiasts, History Buffs, Photographers.
- Entry Fee: No entry fee
- Visiting Time: Not applicable
- Visit Duration: 2 hours.
Pithoragarh Fort, an 18th century fort built by the Gorkhas located in the erstwhile Almora district of Uttarakhand. The place is a small hill station named Pithoragarh set amidst the Kumaon hills. Pithoragarh is a nepali-tibetian locality bordering Nepal and Tibet. This small town located at a height of 1600ft is a breath of fresh air and bears resemblance to Kashmir. Hence it is also known a Little Kashmir or Kashmir of Uttarakhand. The Gorkhas made this fort in 1789. Since then it has been an intricate part of their history and heritage. Here in this part, the Chand and the Pal Dynasty rulers had quite a tussle with the Gorkhas and hence lies the conflicting history. However, the fort which is a sign of Gorkha dominance of the town offers an interesting insight into the history of the land and the artistic skills of that time. It is one of the foremost venue depicting Gorkha architecture. Hence architecture and history enthusiasts are drawn to this place. Apart from history buffs and architecture enthusiasts, the quaint town with its serene and pleasuring landscape offers an attractive destination for nature lovers. The fort too doesn’t lack in this front. For photographers, little Kashmir is truly a paradise offering an all in one package – architectural masterpiece standing on a hill top offering a panoramic view of the mighty Himalayas
- The area is quite vast and covers undulating mountainous road. So be careful when you travel. Wear comfortable shoes.
- Carry water bottles to keep yourself hydrated.
- The fort house gorkha headquarters and tehsils. So, don’t trespass on those properties.
- Remember to visit the nearby attractions as there are plenty of sightseeing activities.
- Plan well in advance it requires time to explore the place.
- Most of the historical parts are ruins, so tread with caution.
Things to Do
- Visit the first world war plaque which serves as memorial for the war heroes of Pithoragarh.
- Explore the fort and its grounds.
- Enjoy the panoramic view of the entire town tucked in the Soar Valley.
- Relish the breath-taking view of the Kali Kumaon hills.
- Feel the breath of fresh wind coming from Kali river.
Availability of Guides
Most of the fort is in ruins while some parts are used as Gorkha headquarters. Hence, as such not much is there to be explored. Thus, guides aren’t needed. Guides are unavailable for fort visit.
Best Time to Visit
Pithoragarh town tucked in a beautiful valley has a pleasant weather all through the year. However, spring and autumn are the most beautiful time of the year to visit this town. Monsoon here isn’t that great and hence it is best to avoid. The ideal time to pay a visit to this place is April – May and October to December. April and October is the best time of the year.
How to Reach
The nearest railway station is Tanakpur. It is located at a distance of 150 km from Tanakpur. Bus, cars and shared jeep rides are available from Tanakpur. One can also reach this place from Haldwani, Almora situated at distance of 240 km. The Pantnagar airport is the nearest airport located at a distance of 250km from Pithoragarh. Hired taxis and cars are available to reach the destination.
Interesting Facts and Trivia
- The name comes Pithoragarh comes from the Chand dynasty ruler Pithora Chand. The fort is named after the town.
- The Gorkhas were in a constant conflict with the native Chand and Pal Dynasty rulers. Many believe the fort to be a chand or pal dynasty masterpiece.
- The fort grounds are used for Ramlila and other public functions. Hence the ground near it is also known as Ramlila grounds.
- Pithoragarh is known its beautiful lakes. Jalingkong and Anchherital lakes are attractive destinations in town.
- The Chandak temple and Thal Kedar lies at a distance of mere 8 kms from the fort.
- The famous Kapileshwar Temple of Lord Shiva lies in the vicinity of the fort.
- A sanctuary located in the Kumaon hills, Ashur Chula lies at a distance of 20 kilometres
- Many temples throng the town and lie within 4km radius. Nakuleshwar temple is one such Khajuraho architectural style masterpiece. Others include the Arjuneshwar temple, The Dhwaj temple, Mostamanu temple etc.
- The musk deer sanctuary lies close by and is a major tourist spot.
- Jhulaghat, a popular adventure sports destination lies nearby. It is best suited for paragliding, skiing etc.
- Jaulabji, 68 kilometres from Pithoragarh is famous for its annual makar sankrati fair. The place is a confluence region for the rivers Kali and Gori.
- Meghana and Jyonar are the nearest eating places in the locality.
- Atithi Restaurant at Mahatma Gandhi Marg is another good option for eating out.
- Milan Onway Restaurant and Satkar Restaurant are other popular outlets.
- Saraswati Sweet & Restaurant offers a good alternative.
So, the little Kashmir is truly a place to enthral us and pithoragarh fort is a historic gateway to it. It is that string which connects the past, present and future. Pack your bags and head to the Kashmir of Uttarakhand.