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History of Uttarakhand

The rich history of Uttarakhand has a lot to do with its spiritual and religious heritage based on its holy books. You can also find numerous historical monuments, sites, and sacred places belonging to various glorious eras of the past. The ancient history of Uttarakhand can be divided into the history of the Garhwal region and of the Kumaon region.

Though the regions share similar topographic features, they vary in their history, ethnicity, and culture. Today, the areas, which are now collectively called ‘the Kumaon region’, have an account that has revealed to later generations the presence of many settlements that date back to the Stone Age.

Uttarakhand History

Uttarakhand is the 27th state of Independent India, founded in 2000. The history of Uttarakhand goes back to time immemorial when the first mention of the region was found in ancient Hindu scriptures, which gave various names to the area, like Kedarkhand, Manaskhand, and Himavat. Often termed "Devbhoomi" or the "Land of the Gods," stories concerning Uttarakhand abound in several ancient texts dating back to the age of Puranas.

A famous historian, Shiv Prasad Dabral took the terms “Uttarapad” and “Khand” from Kedarkhand (a famous mythological book) and formed the term “Uttarakhand”. You can also find several mentions of the place in various epics. The state was called Uttarpanchal by the compilers of the Upanishads; Uttarkaushal by Valmiki; and Uttarkuru by Ved Vyasa (writer of the epic Mahabharata). 

Moreover, Uttarakhand was designated differently by different people. For Panini and Kautilya, it was Uattarapati; for Kirats, it was Kiratmandal; for the Khas, it was Khasadeshm; for Katayurs, it was called Kartipur. 

Let’s get into the individual history of Uttarakhand’s regions.

Garhwal Division History

The Himalayas in the Garhwal division has facilitated civilization from the conception of history. It has been a favorite location for the mythology of the Puranic period. Garhwal’s traditional name and excavations reveal that Garhwal was a part of the Mauryan Empire, as it finds a mention in the 7th-century travelogue of Huen Tsang.

Adi Shankaracharya visited Garhwal in the 8th century to some of the remotest snow-covered parts, founded Joshimath, and restored multiple sacred shrines, which include the highly revered Badrinath and Kedarnath

The history of Garhwal began in the 15th century when King Ajai Pal combined the 52 independent principalities. Garhwal remained one kingdom for 300 years, with the capital at Srinagar. Later, Pauri and Dehradun were added to the region as payment for British help and rendered to the Garhwalis during the Gurkha invasion in the early 19th century.

Kumaon Division History

The history of the Kumaon region is quite interesting. Evidence of Stone Age settlements has been found in this region, like the rock shelter at Lakhu Udyar. Some paintings have also been found dating back to the Mesolithic period. 

Kumaon’s early medieval history consists of the Katyuri dynasty, which ruled the Kumaon region from the 7th to the 11th century. They had power over larger regions like Kumaon, Garhwal, and western Nepal. Katyuri rulers used Baijnath near Almora as their capital and an arts hub. The temples thrived under their power, and the main architectural wonder they did was replacing bricks with stone.

Opposite Almora, on a hilltop, is the temple of Katarmal. It is a 900-year-old sun temple constructed during the declining years of the Katyuri Kingdom. The temple's intricately carved doors and panels were removed and sent to the National Museum in Delhi to protect them as the idol of the presiding deity was stolen after the 10th century. 

After that, the Chands of Pithoragarh ruled the Kumaon region for centuries. They built a majestic temple complex at Jageshwar, with 164 temples over two centuries. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has impressive carvings. 

Know the history more deeply by planning your vacation in Uttarakhand. We offer unbeatable deals on Uttarakhand tour packages that you can modify as desired. So contact our tour experts and pack your bag for a remarkable journey in this Himalayan state. 


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