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Friday, September 11, 2009

Lesser known places in Eastern Kumaon bordering Tibet and Nepal

              The  bridge over Mahakali river at Jauljibi connecting India and Nepal
               First a disclaimer:  The terms "lesser known", "less visited"  make sense only for non native-people and general tourists. For me and others who scour the web for information on these places, these places are less visited by travellers and also less reported and posted on the web. And similarly the words like 'remote', 'accessibility', etc are applicable for the non locals like me. To say that a place is remote is to take a point of view. It tells about the viewer as much. It is from where I am located, these places look remote, hidden, wild, mysterious, secret, untrodden, off beat,  undiscovered...   Remoteness has its charm and attraction for outsiders.

     In these pages I would like to share my experiences of the places I visited in Kumaon. Other than Darma valley (Panchachuli East base camp) , Johar valley (Milam/Nandadevi-East base camp), Adi kailash in Vyas ( Byans) valley, most of the  places are off the tourist map and  less visited. Mostly  the treks and travels in Pithoragarh district and along India-Nepal border. A few treks are also along Maha Kali river that constitutes the boundary between the two countries. The far western Nepal too is less visited by outsiders even though the famous Kailas - Mansarovar Yatra through Lipulekh goes along the course of Mahakali river.
The aim is to let the people around the world know about this remote corner of India. Most of the places are in Gori Ganga and Kali Ganga valleys and their side valleys.

Darma Valley
                           Kuncha - The annual migration of a Rung family from  lower hills and high altitude village.
                                           ( May 2012 )   
                           The return journey ( Oct 2009 ) : "Kuncha"
                            A Rung family migrating to lower altitudes after the summer stay in Darma

                          Darma Valley visits:
                          July 2003  |June 2004 | June 2005 | June 2006 | October 2009 | May  2012 | Sept  2012

Explorations in Darma valley:

                           Bidang - Boudh Mandir and Sacred stones at Bidang camping ground ( May 2012 )
                           Bidang ( Sept 2012 )
                           Tidang, Bidang , Khimling, Pungrung, Dawe, Parvati tal (Towards Darma pass ) June 2006
                           Sipu and other villages in Lasser Yankthi valley - Oct, 2009
                           Upper Lasser Yankthi Valley - Towards Anchari Tal June 2006
                           Panchchuli Base from Duktu 
                           Along Nyuli yankthi from Dantu ( Towards Pun Gam Dangtho)
                           Rangjakthi tal above Son village
                           Titam peak (where remains of an ancient fort/temple lie )
                           Dantu-Duktu-Bon-Phillum-Hula-Go-Dantu : Circular trek
                           Puja at Gabladev Mandir( June 2006 )

                           Darma valley: A family visit - Oct 2009
                           Colors of Monsoon - Darma trek- Sept 2012

  Some where beyond Dawe Circa 1883
Behind these snows is Hun Desh ( Tibet )
From the Middle Himalaya :                      

Jauljibi and its environs
Jauljibi fair
Horses from Humla / Jumla ( Nepal )
Baram - Kanar ( Maa Bhagawathi - Kokila mandir ) - along Gosi gad
Seraghat - Bona- alone Paina gad
Gori ganga valley and some of the villages- Gori Chhaal
Ghatta Bagad Shivrathri fair ( Feb-2006) near Baram
Jauljibi - Duti - Gana gaon ( where Van Raji people live) - Kimkhola
Garkha ( Ogla - Bhagi Chaura - Dangti-  Dungra- Bagri hat )
Baira - Bijodi - Bagri hat
Hamseswar Mandir ( Titari )
Jauljibi - Dyoda - Taleshwar - Along Maha Kali river

Askot ( Mallikarjun and Deval Mandir)
Didihat - Narayan Nagar - Askot ridge walk
Askot - Garjia - Jauljibi walk
Fishing in Raunthis gad ( Garjia )
Didihat- Sandev ( Ghorpatta / Chaubati ) - Sirakot ( Malaynath Mandir)
Kalika - Khumthi
Balwakot - Paiya-Paudi - Ghatta Bagar ( Kali ganga - Gori ganga traverse )
Chaudas :  Narayan Ashram - Sosa - Pangu -  Kanchauti
Dobat - Ranthi - Huskar mandir -  Kulagad

Paleta - Dwaj ( Jayanthi Mandir) - Satgarh- 2008
Dwaj Jayanthi mandir - Feb 2011

Pithoragarh - Ancholi - Badabe - Thal kedar mandir - Jan 2011

Trekked to 3  temples in Feb 2011 from  Choukori/ Dharamghar  :
Shikhar ( Mool Nag or Mool Narayan mandir, 2700 mts )
Bhanar  ( Bajain Mandir )
Sangad ( Nauling Mandir )

Makar Sankranthi mela (Fair) at Thal  Jan 2011

Pheninag mandir near Kameri Devi - Jan 2011
Kotgarhi Mandir near Pankhu - Jan 2011
Nandadevi Mandir at Thala village - Jan 2011

Nag Devta Mandir - Berinag - May 2012

Lambkeshwar ( Near Jhaltola ) - Dec 2012
Gangolihat , Guptari and Patal Bhuvneshwar ( Including their Ancient temples )- Dec 2012
Choukori and Tripura Devi Mandir ( Near  Berinag ) - Dec 2012

A trek inside Nepal along Mahakali river:
 Jauljibi - Ukoo village( where  the ruins of a magnificient temple lie scattered and a strange script on a rock are found. Some say it's connected to Ashoka's kingdom. This is a very fertile land and there are endless fields cultivated throughout the year. No wonder there are jamindars with large land holdings and prosperous peasants and with a rich cultural past).

And some places in Champawat district:
Champawat - Baleshwar Mandir
Abbot Mount ( Lohaghat - Marora khan )
Mayavati Ashram ( Lohaghat ) - Dharamgarh ( Where Swami Vivekananda meditated )
Purnagiri ( Punyagiri ) Mandir ( Near Tanakpur ) & Sharda ghat  - Dec 2012

Charthi Kharak - A visit in search of "insect gold" ( Cater pillar Fungus / Yartsa Gambu )  May-June 2012
Location and Sat. pictures of the place.

Wool Tour 2014 : Berinag - Choukori - Bala - Munsiari - Jauljibi - Kalika - Dharchula

Kaaphal Hill Farm, Choukori  - March 2015
Thal - Baltir village - Ek Haathiya Dewal Mandir - March 2015
Hokara Devi mandir ( Tejam - Dekuna - Mansuri kantha - Khoyam - Hokara ) - March 2015

Kaaphal Hill farm, Choukori, November 2015
Berinag, Sarla Ben Ashram
Pingal Nag trek November 2015

Upcoming treks and travels:

See this: Satellite image of the area with names of places

Chipla Kot ( Chhipla Kot, Chipla Kedar ).  This lies on Gori Ganga - Kali/Dhauli Ganga divide in Dharchula region. As the locals say there are eighteen  possible ways to reach this place. This place is full of small lakes and bugyals. For the people around this region, its a sacred place and treated with respect. An  important puja takes place every 3 years.

Of late this place became a rich ground for sourcing Yartsa - Gambu ( Keeda -Jadi ) or Caterpiller Fungus that attracts thousands of people every year after the snow melts. This is used in Chinese medicine as a panacea and fetches vast sums of money to the collectors and middle men. This magic herb is smuggled to Tibet across Nepal and ultimately to Chinese mainland transforming the fortunes of people involved in this business.

Yartsa Gambu or Caterpiller Fungus - A new found wealth in the higher Himalaya

Some of the possible trek routes to Chhipla kot:

Baram - Kanar - Bhaiman cave -  Kakrail Kund - Chipla kedar Kund  - Najuri kot ( Highest point )
Banga pani - Chori bagar- Jara Jibli - Banani - Deothal - Chipla dhar _ Jumma - Elagad
Tawaghat ( Khela ) - Barmano - Brahmkund - Kedar Dwe - Patouch Kund - Kanar Baram
Tawaghat ( Khela ) - Teliyani Gufa  - Pingu gufa - Naudev - Chipla kedar lake - Charthi kharak -                                Thalpa  kharak- Sera top-Seraghat  ( Dhauli Ganga - Gori Ganga traversal trek)
Ela gad - Palpala village - Pingu - Brahmkund - Chipla kedar- Brahm kund- Pingu -Saumf village - Chirkila ( This route is partly trekked in 2012 - See Charthi Kharak above )

Passes in this Area: 

Ralam dhura and Balsi dhura connecting Gori and Dhauli valleys
Gangchal dhura connecting Lasser Yankthi and Dhauli Ganga valleys
Sin La ( or Lebung pass )connecting Dhauli/ Darma and Kuti valleys
Nama pass connecting Kuti and Sela 
Chatem La connecting Kuti and Bidang

In Dhauli Ganga/ Darma  valley:

Panchachuli Glaciers : A closer look: Nippa and Gabbe gwar ( Access from Dugtu )
                                 Nyulpa( Nelpa) gwar- Pun Gam Dang To (4500 mts)- Min Gam Dang To (Access from Dantu )
   ( Villagers go there for harvesting certain herbs and roots found only in this area right under the shadow of Panchachuli peaks. Also there are some very grass rich pastures where shepherds take their flock and camp over there during the summer season )

Sulphur springs of Dar village.
Side valley from Sela village to Basu and Chadangti camping grounds ( towards Nama pass to Kuti )
Nagling Byaksi and Baling Byaksi ( Camping ground also called Gwar)
Rama hut - Rama Glacier- Brahma Parvat base camp
Sipu - Milti bai - Mahadev khola& Nipchukang gwar ( towards Ralam pass )
Lassar yankthi glacier - Nassa bai ( Tal )

Himkhola - Syankuti - Karamdang bugyal - Nasa Marthi peak - Lan Darma valley

In Gori ganga valley:

Baram - Ghan dhura- Kaphalani
Baram - Daphia dhura - Maitali

Madkot- Taumik - Bona - Daharti kharak- Guin Dhar- Jimba  - Balchi dhura - Sumdum - Tejam - Sobla
Madkot - Pyunshani gad - Panchachuli ( west ) basecamp
Madkot - Walthi - Nirtoli
Madkot - Basankot - Kultham - Kultham top

Munsiary - Thamri kund - Hum dhura - Harkot
Munsiary - Bhujjani - Khalia top - Rurkhan - Rantham top - Sudam khan Kalamuni
Munsiary - Ralam village - Shankapla glacier - Birjeganga pass - Tola - Milam ( Along Ralam gad )

In Kali Ganga valley :

Dharchula - Galati - Ramtoli
Kalika - Khumthi - Saikali dhar - Siddhnath Mandir - Kanar - Baram
Baluwa Kot - Sira Bajani mandir ( Nepal )

In Byas Valley

Api base camp  from Gokuleashwar ( Nepal )
Garbyang - Chhangru ( Nepal ) - Tinker ( Nepal ) & Nampa basecamp
Brahma Parvat, Adi Kailash, Parvati Tal and  Gauri kund trek
Kuti - Jolingkong - Jamthi - Wilsha -(  towards  Lampiya dhura )

Trekking and Trading in  Taklakot ( Purang )

In Ram Ganga Valley: 

Thal- Hajeti FRH

Thal - Bansbagar - Dhamigaon - Banga pani - Gori valley

Patal Bhuvneshwar - Bhrigutunga peak
Gangoli hat - Shaileshwar peak

Dewal Thal - Lori peak - Mallikarjun mandir

Other Nag temples near Berinag:
Basuki Nag |  Pingal Nag |  Hari Nag |  Dhauli Nag | Kali Nag | Peele Nag ---------

Pithoragarh and the neibouring Baitadi district in Nepal:

Pithoragarh : Ghunsera caves - Asurchula mandir
Pithoragarh  : Chandak - Udaipur fort
Pithoragarh - Koteshwar peak (Drill hill)
Pithoragarh- Lacher - Soar Lekh top - Naini Saini
Pithoragarh - Bin - Kamaksha Mandir
Pithoragarh - Kashni - Wadda -Jhulaghat - Baitadi ( Nepal )- Bala Tripura sundari mandir
Pithoragarh - Wadda - Quitor - Haldu - Pancheshwar

Baitadi ( Nepal ) - Gokuleshwar - Misal Manthang - Khari - Dallekh - Darchula ( Nepal )
Jauljibi - Pashti ( Nepal ) - Marma ( Nepal )
Jauljibi - Dethala ( Nepal ) - Shikhar Mandir ( Nepal )

Other Nag temples near Berinag:
Basuki Nag |  Pingal Nag |  Hari Nag |  Dhauli Nag | Kali Nag | Peele Nag

Didihat - Chaubati( San dev) - Shantikunj - Dev Chula - Jaurasi - Charma

Tracing the old  trade route from Jauljivi to Garur - Bageswar via Garjia, Duna kot, Sini ,     
                                         Nachni and Danpur area
Jageshwar - Naini - Chandika ghat - Pithoragarh ( Trek )
Lohaghat - Jhumadhuri mandir - Vanasur fort
Lohaghat - Pulla - Pancheshwar
Champawat - Manch - Gorakhnath ki dhuni
Champawat - Hingla Devi Mandir
Champawat - Kranteshwar Mandir
Champawat - Banlekh - Nunchula mandir

In the footsteps of Jim Corbett ( Almora - Lamgara - Devidhura - Panar - Champawat - Manch - Chuka -Thak -Boom)
In Kali Kumaon - Along Mahakali/ SaradaRiver ( Jhulaghat - Pancheshwar - Manch -Tamli - Purnagiri)
                             ( Maha Kali is called Sarada as it enters the Plains of Uttar Pradesh near Tanakpur ) 


                                         Articles, Reports, travelogues and books on this area

Keep visiting this page as this is an ongoing project and getting augmented frequently. Suggestions and comments are welcome.

Though I have n't posted the details and pictures of all the places I have already visited, prospective travellers and explorers are welcome to contact me for information on these areas.

guvaraj at gmail dot com

Upper Darma valley


  1. hello raj, welcome to world of blogging...

    hope to see the omnimbus on darma/ralam/askot/dharchula regions soon...

  2. Rajkumar: You have opened a BIG canvas here! Hope you enjoy painting it, slowly, over time!! Will keep visiting to watch the progress.

    - KS

  3. My best wishes for your blogging venture.
    Waiting for the first report of your October'09 visit around Jauljibi.


  4. Please do visit UKOO the Ist kingdom of Katyuri(Pal) Dynasty .

  5. Hi Bhupendra,
    I had forgotten to include it. I visited Ukoo village indeed and met a jamindar there. The ruins of the temple are really intriguing and it shows that the area has a rich cultural past. Shall post the pictures soon.

  6. Hi There,
    This is Bhupendra Pal , a native of Ukoo, its very nice to get such a overwhelming response from u.
    Thanks for the pics, ya u r rit i am very much familaris with each and every land scaps and people in the pics ....that person whom u indicated as jamindar is one of the brother of my Grand Father, i met him in my last visit to ukoo in April 2009.....i do also have clear picture i my mind regarding the age old scripted stones, which i also having snaps of those.

    Let me introduce myself
    Bhupendra Pal
    s/o Shri J.B.Pal
    Petroleum Engineer, Reliance, Mumbai
    Ukoo is My Birth Place.My schooling started from there only, i studied upto 3rd std from Ukoo School.We regularly do visit to Ukoo for different occasions of festivals and Poojas.

    Ukoo , being in Nepal Very much neglected from its very much Rich History of Royal Pal(Katyuri) Dynasty.
    I have searched a lot on net regarding our History, but i hardly found any thing about ukoo history.
    But a lot is there regarding Askot History(beig in Uttarakhand, India).

    As per the story told by my grand parents, we are basically the clans of Katyuri Dynasty.When the Pal King Shifted his Kingdom from Katyur Valley(Baijnath, Bageswar) to Ukoo in 11th century, out of the 3 brothers eldest remain in Ukoo(Nepal, Jauljibi) ,2nd resides in Askot(India, Uttaranchal) and the third one went to Dethala(Nepal, dharchula).Other-way-round peoples of these three places are relatives among themselves.

    Yes, Specially abt that u also very much interested i.e The Our Estdev Temple named as "MAHAL" those age old remainings of Temple Huge Stones in different shaped stones, which are very much neglected by Archeological Dpt of Uttarakhand/Nepal.That temple is also of that time when Pal Kings(Rajbhars) First settled in Ukoo around in 11th Centuary.

    Definetly Ukoo may be the the place of research for Students of History, many can do there PhD by having the ancient Information of Pal Dynast from ukoo.

    My main aim to send comment i your Blog regarding Ukoo is to bring Ukoo in Lime Light, which could contribute a lot in Hidden History of Uttarakhad and Nepal.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Hello Folks ;

    I appreciate from the bottom of my hearth for uploading such stunning pictures of UKOO.

    The pictures portray how rich UKOO is in natural scenery; and also these monuments are proof of the rich glorious past the pal dynasty enjoyed.

    I feel sad for the current condition of these monuments that are left for ruin.

    As for last couple of months I was trying to research all the broken links about the pal dynasty.

    Until now, found a decent amount of information about the pal dynasty and every information that gets added to my data base is worth more than a billions of dollars of me: )

    Here is my brief introduction.

    I was born in Dethla, Dharchula to a Pal Family, had to migrate to India at the age of 4 .

    I regret saying, I haven’t been lucky enough to visit my birth-place until now.

    However, I plan to explore few of the places that were significant to the Pal kingdom by April 2012.

    Also, my relatives and grandparents who still live in Dethla .

    I have complied the below to the must visit place for Pal Thakuri’s

    1) Ukoo
    2) Dharchula
    3) Askote
    4) Naggar fort

    Iam really not sure about the name, but have heard about an auspicious temple in Dharchula that has been a common gathering place for many of the Pal Thakuri's during a festival season for a traditional pooja.

    In case, you would want to share any information on the pal dynasty, please feel free to mail @

  9. Hi Raj, I am so very impressed at this wealth of knowledge and info on your chosen region of the Himalaya..... slowly, I shall savor the trails and valleys you have written about. Excellent work!

  10. why pics are not available..?? i mean link is saying no pics......kindly help..i am curious to see wonderful colours of nature....and i must thankyou to owner of this blog for introducing such a beautiful greens to us...