Kumaon, is an awesome natural splendor, it can be called as a jewel of the most beautiful Himalayan mountain necklace.
“As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens.” ~Stephen Graham
Kumaon, is an awesome natural splendor, it can be called as a jewel of the most beautiful Himalayan mountain necklace. Kumaon, Range extends from the northern end of the Ganga plains right upto Tibet. Kumaon’s endless scenic wonders is nothing short of a romance with pristine and soul-lifting nature itself.
It is believed that the word “Kumaon” is derived from “Kurmanchal“, which means the land of Kurmavatar (the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Preserver of the Hindu Trinity).
In its range of natural beauty, Kumaon can be likened to a techni-colour dreamcoat; rosette dawns and dusks, azure skies, opaline lakes, fields of yellowing corn, alternated by deep green potato beds, blue ribbons of meandering rivers, eye-catching pink and red rhododendrons, snow-white summits and birds of vivid plumage.
Well-connected to different parts of the country, Kumaon hills are a treasure-house for the tourists, trekkers and pilgrims alike.
It has the serene and peaceful Tibet towards its northern side, on the east is the beautiful Nepal, Uttar Pradesh lies towards the south and on the west, lays the Garhwal region. The Kumaonis, as the people of the region are called, are well known for their bravery and martial skills. The Kumaon Regiment, one of the best regiments of the Indian Army, calls Kumaon its home. Haldwani, Nainital, Rudrapur, Almora, Pithoragarh, Mukteshwar and Ranikhet are among the most important towns of the region.
Geography and the Landscape
Apart from the vast Himalayan tract, the region has two sub-mountain strips called the Terai and the Bhabhar. Up till the1850`s, the sub-mountain strips had an almost impenetrable forest that provided shelter to a large number of wild animals; but after that, the numerous clearings of trees made the area accessible and cultivable. Since then, the strips, having rich and fertile soil, attract a large number of people from the hills who cultivate the rich soil during the hot as well as the cold season and return to the hills during rains.
As for the rest of Kumaon, it is a maze of mountains, all a part of the Great Himalayas, some of which are among the loftiest known. Dotting the landscape, which is only 225 kms. in terms of length and a mere 65 kms. in breadth, are over thirty peaks rising to staggering heights of 5500 m. or more. Among the rivers rising chiefly in the southern slope of the Tibetan watershed, lying to the north of the loftiest peaks, are the Gori, Dhauli and Kali. The rivers flow through the extraordinarily deep and strikingly beautiful valleys and gorges of the Kumaon hills. The main rivers are the Sharda (Kali), the Pindari and Kailganga, whose waters join the Alaknanda. The river Sharda (Kali) also acts as the international boundary between India and Nepal. The route currently used to make the holy pilgrimage to the Kailash-Mansarovar, goes along this river, crossing into Tibet at Lipu Lekh pass.
Flora and Fauna
The Chir Pine, the Himalayan Cypress, the Pindrow Fir, Alder, Sal (or iron-wood), and Saindan are the main varieties of trees growing in the region. As far as the geological formations are concerned, Limestone, Sandstone, Slate, Gneiss and Granite are the principal ones. The area has a number of mines of Iron, Copper, Gypsum, Lead and Asbestos, but almost all of them are under-utilized.
The climate is mild except in the regions of the sub-mountain strips of Tarai and Bhabhar and the deep valleys. The amount of rainfall received by the outer Himalayan range is almost twice that of the central hills as the outer Himalayas are the first ones to be hit by the monsoons. The precipitation is normally in the average proportion of 2000 mm to 1000 mm. Winter season without snowfall is almost unheard of in the higher ridges and in some years, the snowfall is spread throughout the whole of the mountain tract. Severe frosts are witnessed often, especially in the valleys.