OT Itinerary: Your Three-Day Guide To Pithoragarh

With a sanctuary, museum, numerous temples and plenty of trekking trails to avail of, this is why you should visit Pithoragarh on your next travel journey
Himalayan ranges form the backdrop to a serene village in Pithoragarh
Himalayan ranges form the backdrop to a serene village in PithoragarhShekhar Pillay/Shutterstock

Some 178km from Nainital lies the stunning town of Pithoragarh. Situated in Uttarakhand, the place is home to an array of temples devoted to Shiva and the gateway to a number of Himalayan peaks such as Panchachuli and Nanda Devi. Tourists pass through this region as they make their way to the Kailash Mansarovar. The town is close to many glaciers such as the Milam Glacier, Ralam Glacier, Namik Glacier and Sunderdhunga Glacier.

This stunning place should be on your travel itinerary. If you don’t know where to begin then read on for our three-day guide to this magical place.

Day 1


Pithoragarh Fort is also known as London Fort
Pithoragarh Fort is also known as London FortAbhayjocee/Wikimedia Commons

Your first day should involve a trip to Pithoragarh Fort. This monument’s strategic location provided a vantage point for monitoring and defending against potential invasions. It was built by the Gorkhas in the 18th century and its ownership changed hands multiple times, not least during the British colonial era. The fort’s commanding presence arrests the viewer with scenes of the surrounding landscape. Sunrise and sunset are a particular treat to witness from Pithoragarh Fort.

Next up is the Kapileshwar Mahadev Temple. Its tranquil ambience attracts many visitors. One of the myths associated with the temple revolves around the sage Kapila, who meditated in the vicinity of the temple and imbued the surroundings with spiritual energy. It is believed to have been constructed many centuries ago.


The view from Chandak Hills
The view from Chandak HillsFreesoull/Shutterstock

Walk out your postprandial sluggishness with a trek to the Chandak Hills. This famous mountain range has breathtaking landscape views of the Soar Valley. You will come across the Mostamanu Temple, another ancient temple dedicated to Shiva.

Further ahead of the temple is the Bhurmuni Dafaali Waterfall. The trek may be a tad difficult for those who are walking the hilly terrain for the first time but it is a good place to relax and have a small picnic. Let all your worries melt away in the lap of nature and allow the gushing waters to be your soundtrack for the rest of the afternoon.


Mostamanu Temple
Mostamanu TempleRavinder Singh Kanyal/Shutterstock

Wrap up your first day with a visit to the Maharajke War Memorial. The trees act as sentinels to remember the fallen in the Battle of Maharajke during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965. The park is a peaceful and solemn place to reflect upon the ideals of justice and sacrifice.

Head back to Pithoragarh town for a hearty meal and an early night in bed. Grab the opportunity to stargaze if you can.

Day 2


A group of Himalayan musk deer
A group of Himalayan musk deerABRAHAM KHAN/Shutterstock

Rise early and make the 52km drive to the Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary. On the way you will encounter the Dhwaj Temple. It is believed that the Pandavas visited the region during their exile and established the temple as a homage to Shiva. It’s a popular attraction with pilgrims and travellers hoping to soak in its serenity and profundity.

Continue on your way to the sanctuary. The place is a haven for mammals like the snow leopard, Himalayan musk deer, Himalayan tahr and red panda. Spread over an area of 600 square kilometres, the sanctuary stretches from altitudes as low as 600m to as high as 6,000m and has a diversity of ecosystems. Its topography ranges from lush forests and alpine meadows to rocky slopes and icy peaks. A morning spent here may not be enough so take all the time you need to explore the place by choosing any of its numerous trails.


A scenic view from Didihat
A scenic view from DidihatBaba pahadi/Shutterstock

Once you’re ready to leave the sanctuary consider visiting Didihat, 32km away. This quaint hill station has many charms such as its relaxing and slow-paced life, a refreshing climate and the ever-present vistas of the surrounding Himalayan peaks which never fail to impress no matter where you go in the Pithoragarh region. Didihat's pristine natural beauty and cultural charm create an atmosphere for those looking to reconnect with the living world.

If Didihat is not your cup of tea then head back to Pithoragarh and visit the Arjuneshwar Temple. It is believed that Arjuna meditated at this very site to appease Shiva. The main sanctum of the temple houses a lingam, which is a focal point for devotees' prayers and offerings.


The Ralam Valley in Pithoragarh
The Ralam Valley in PithoragarhRealityImages/Shutterstock

Your final stop of the day should be to the Nakuleshwar Temple on the other side of town. This one has a connection to Arjuna’s brother, Nakula. He is said to have meditated at the site to receive guidance from Shiva. The temple is a tribute to his devotion.

Get dinner and have a restful sleep after an intense second day.

Day 3


Entrance to Patal Bhuvaneshwar
Entrance to Patal BhuvaneshwarArmouredCyborg/Wikimedia Commons

Get up early and make your way to the Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave temple of Gangolihat. Limestone rock formations have created interesting stalactites and stalagmites of various hues and forms shaped by the continuous drip of mineral-rich water. These formations create an otherworldly landscape that captivates the imagination and visitors report experiencing a sense of awe. The cave's network spans hundreds of meters, revealing chambers and galleries that are home to rock formations resembling various deities, animals and mythological figures.


The Thal Kedar Temple
The Thal Kedar Templechardhamtours.in/Website

No visit to Pithoragarh is complete without a visit to the Thal Kedar Temple. Make this your second stop on your final day in the region. Thal means a plate or surface and kedar is another name for Shiva. The temple is associated with the Kedarnath Temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India. The temple is built in the North Indian style and the hike to the temple takes visitors along the Bhagirathi River.


A marketplace in Pithoragarh
A marketplace in PithoragarhPictures Punetha/Shutterstock

Make sure you pick up some souvenirs in the evening to take back home with you. Head to Cinema Line, a popular shopping street, the Purana Bazaar, Pithoragarh’s oldest market with shops selling clothes and handicrafts, or Simalgair, which is known for its wooden handicrafts.

Where To Stay

The Plaza Hotel, Hotel Manar, the Pine Resort, the Green Village Eco Resort Jageshwar, and the Black and White Café and Homestay are some of the best accommodations in or near Pithoragarh.

Getting There

The Naini-Saini Airport is Pithoragarh’s domestic airport. Tanakpur has the nearest train station. The town is well-connected with interstate and private buses and taxis.

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