Chamoli "Abode of Gods"
Revered as the second largest district of Uttarakhand, Chamoli is the pride of Uttarakhand. The district is dotted by the Tibet region to the north and by Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh and Bageshwar district to the east, Almora district to the south, Garhwal to the southwest, Rudraprayag to the west and Uttarkashi to the northwest. Several important rivers and their tributaries cross the district. The mighty river Alaknanda traverses at a distance of 229 km before it merges with Bhagirathi at Devprayag, constituting river Ganga.
This beauteous district is known to offer spiritual and adventurous expeditions as places like Badrinath, Hemkund Sahib, Joshimath, Valley of Flowers and Auli are nestled here. The district’s scenic surroundings, voluptuous valleys, ancient shrines, flora-fauna and the climatic cardinalities attract many tourists to visit here.
Interesting Fact about Chamoli:
Chamoli is the birthplace of “Chipko Movement” which was started at Gopeshwar. The movement took momentum and many women and locals actively participated to save the forest cover of Uttarakhand. The movement was later led by the great environmentalist Chandi Prasad Bhatt.
The district’s unparalleled natural beauty is a treat to the wanderers as several Himalayan peaks are studded here. The tiny villages scattered around, International Border with Tibet are a centre of attraction for the mountain lovers. One can also see the amalgamation of culture as the district is inhabited by the Bhotia tribe who thrives here. The verdant hills of Chamoli is a paradise for trekking, climbing and hiking. Many adventure bugs visit Auli for skiing and Rudranath for trekking. Rudranath (2,286 metres) is the most exciting trek of Panchkedar. This 22 km long trek can be completed in two days.
In the yesteryears, Chamoli district was a part of Pauri Garhwal which then came under Kumaon. However, in the year 1960, Chamoli was carved out of the erstwhile Garhwal district as a separate revenue district. It lies in the Central Himalayas and constitutes a part of the “Kedar Kshetra”.
Handicraft in Chamoli district:
Indo-Tibetan people inhibited in the High Himalayas (Mana and Niti valleys of Upper Chamoli) known as “Bhotiyas” have ruled the handicraft bazaar in Chamoli. The Bhotiya tribe since ancient times had good trade relations with Tibet and accepted woollen industry as an essential part of their lifestyle. Bhotiya women for centuries have been moving their small “pithachan” (Loin-loom). Ptdu, thulma, carpets, chutka, lava, shawls, asans, pankhi, gudma etc. were prepared very artistically. One can buy the rich handicraft items that are crafted in the entire mountain belt, from the Western Himalayas to the Northeast frontier region, producing a wide range of woollen articles.
Chamoli district experiences a great climate as the district ranges from 800 metres to 8,000 metres above sea level. The winter season is from mid-November to March. As most of the region is situated on the southern slopes of the outer Himalayas, monsoon currents can enter through the valley. The rainfall is the heaviest between the monsoon months of June to September.
Fairs and Festivals:
Festivals in Chamoli are celebrated with great fervour. Some of which are Ram Navmi, Naag Panchami, Rakshabandhan, Janmashtami, Dussehra, Deepawali, Makar Sankranti, Shivaratri and Holi. The district also sees an array of fairs such as Bishwat Sanskranti which is a grand fair. It is mentioned in the Pandukeshwar inscription of Lalitashuradeva issued in the 22nd regnal year. It is also held at Ming (14 April), Aser (15 April), Hans Koti (16 April), and Kulsari and Adbadri (17 April). Gaucher Mela is another important fair of this district. It is held in Karnaprayag in the month of November every year.
Other regional festivals are Nautha at Adbadri, Naumi at Hariyali, Nanda Devi at Bedni, Dattatreya Pooranmasi at Ansuya temple, Nagnath at Dewar Walla. Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra is a unique festival celebrated in Chamoli. The ‘doli’ or palanquin of Nanda Devi is taken in a grand procession. A four-horned ram loaded with offerings guides the procession from Nauti till it reaches Homkund, near the base of Nanda Ghunti. The pilgrims rest every night near the Nauti umbrella of the goddess. At Homkund, the ram bids goodbye to the pilgrims leaving tears in their eyes. The ram then makes its sojourn towards the mountains, laden with offerings for goddess Nanda Devi.
Places to Visit in Chamoli:
District Headquarters: Gopeshwar
The Geographical area: 37,624 km2 (2,944 sq. mi)
Coordinates: 30.2937° N, 79.5603° E
Total Population in 2011: 3,91,605
Literacy rate: 82.65%
Altitude: 1,400 m (4,600 ft)
Language: Hindi, Garhwali
Best time: Throughout the year
Assembly Constituencies: Badrinath, Tharali, Kanraprayag
Summer temperature: 30°C to 22°C
Winter temperature: 20°C to 0°C
How to Reach Chamoli District:
Chamoli is well connected by swift roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand. Buses to the nearest cities Rishikesh and Srinagar are available from ISBT Kashmiri Gate. Further buses and taxis to this district are available from major destinations of Uttarakhand like Rishikesh, Pauri, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Srinagar, Gopeshwar etc. It is situated at NH58 making it easily accessible.
Haridwar railway station is the nearest railhead to Chamoli. Trains run frequently to Haridwar. Chamoli is well connected by motorable roads with Haridwar. Taxis and buses are also available from Haridwar, Srinagar, Rudraprayag and many other destinations to Chamoli.
Jolly Grant airport situated at a distance of 132 km is the nearest airport to Chamoli. It is well connected to Delhi with daily flights. Chamoli is linked by motorable roads with Jolly Grant airport. Taxis are easily available from Jolly Grant airport to Chamoli.