Dharchula, the pride of Pithoragarh district and local cultural hub, is a scenic town situated on the banks of Kali river in Pithoragarh district of state Uttarakhand. The town is scattered along the Kali river, which forms the border between India and Nepal. It is almost 91 km from Pithoragarh and about 40 km from Askote. Like most of the remote places, the town is full of natural beauty, which makes it worth visiting.
Known for its rich and vibrant culture, Dharchula is also popular among devotees as a major stopover en route Kailash Mansarovar and Chhota Kailash Yatra(journey). The combination words Dhar and Chula comes from the Hindi language, which means ‘mountain peak’. Covered by many Himalayan peaks, it is perched at a height of 915 m above sea level.
What Dharchula Has to Offer:
Dharchula is a quiet scenic town. The lovely sound of the flowing river of Kali always mesmerizes the visitors. The clearly visible peaks of Panchachuli along with a clear sky also makes a special appearance here. This makes an excellent place for nature lovers and trekkers to explore. The place is also rich in flora which visitors would love to witness.
A foot over suspension bridge built on Kali river connects Dharchula to Nepal’s Darchula, which is a clone town of Dharchula just across the border in Nepal. Army camps of each country are always there on their respective sides of the bridge. Any Indian or Nepalese citizen can cross the bridge without any need for a passport or visa. But there are custom checks for goods that are being transported from one country to another.
Culture and Tribes of Dharchula:
Rung tribe is the most common tribe found in this region. Most of the people can talk and understand Hindi. But most commonly spoken languages here are Kumaoni and Dotiyali. Dharchula is a rich blend of common Kumaoni and Bhotiya communities. Bhotiyas are known to be very humble polite and shy. As per the report released by Census India 2011, the Dharchula Nagar Panchayat has a population of 7,039 out of which 3,797 are males and 3,242 are females.
According to a survey conducted in 2009, 4 tribes namely Tharus, Buxas, Rajis, and Bhotiyas inhabit the Kumaun division of Uttarakhand. The 8 major Bhotiya communities in the state are Johari, Juthora, Darmi, Chudans, Byansi, Marccha, Tolcha and Jad. The tribal population of Bhotiya community is 8.13 % and inhabited in about 18.70 % of the area of the country.
History of Dharchula:
History of Dharchula is mostly related to Katyuri kings. They ruled this region including Askot for a long time. This place was also an important town for trading on the Trans-Himalayan trade routes. This trading was the only source of income for the inhabitants of this place. Trade was based on the barter system. Locals used to trade local handicrafts with the Tibetans such as carpets which are known as ‘dan’ in the local language, for food, money, and clothing.
After the Indo-China War of 1962, all trading passes to Tibet were closed. This affected the life of local inhabitants dramatically. some of them were forced to move to other parts of the country. Some of the inhabitants changed their source of income. The locals engaged themselves in crop farming, cattle farming, and other small businesses.
Dharchula is well known for its fast food and Nepali food such as different kinds of Chowmein, Veg or non-veg Momos, Chicken, mutton and vegetable soups and typical Pahadi and North Indian food.
Best Time to Visit Dharchula:
Summers (March - June):
It depends on one’s choice but Summer months are probably the best time to visit here and nearby places. The weather remains pleasant in summers with sunshine and cool breeze.
Monsoons (July - September):
This area is known for landslides and roadblocks during monsoons. The rains are quite heavy and may cause trouble for visitors.
Winters (November - February):
If witnessing snowfall is the primary motive of your trip then winters are the best times for you. During winters, this place has snow-capped mountains and streets to offer. Munsiyari is not very far from here, where one can have a great vacation.
Weather in Dharchula Throughout the Year:
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How to Reach Dharchula:
The town of Dharchula is situated at Indo-Nepal border, almost 91 km from Pithoragarh.
It is well connected to Pithoragarh, Almora, Haldwani, Tanakpur, and Dehradun. Buses to Dharchula are available from ISBT Anand Vihar, Delhi, and ISBT, Dehradun. Being a remote place, there are a limited number of buses going to Dharchula and one has to check the timings too. Taking a bus to Pithoragarh or Tanakpur and then hiring a cab or taking another bus going to Dharchula is another option.
The nearest railway station is Tanakpur, which is at a distance of 218 km. Cabs and buses are easily available from Tanakpur to Dharchula and Pithoragarh. Tanakpur railway station is well connected to all major cities of North India and trains are regular.