Kumaoni people see Kumaoni people
Divisions of Uttarakhand
Kumaon or Kumaun is one of the two regions and administrative
divisions of Uttarakhand, a mountainous state of northern India, the
other being Garhwal. It includes the districts of Almora, Bageshwar,
Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh, and Udham Singh Nagar. It is bounded
on the north by Tibet, on the east by Nepal, on the south by the state
of Uttar Pradesh, and on the west by the Garhwal region. The people of
Kumaon are known as Kumaonis and speak the Kumaoni language.
It is home to a famous
Indian Army regiment, the Kumaon Regiment.
Important towns of Kumaon are Haldwani, Nainital, Almora, Pithoragarh,
Rudrapur, Kashipur, Pantnagar,
Mukteshwar and Ranikhet.
the administrative centre of
Kumaon Division and this is where the
Uttarakhand high court is located.
3.1 Katyuri Raj
3.2 Chand Raj
3.3 Raikas Of Doti
3.4 Nepalese invasion and its defeat
3.5 British Raj
4 Martial race
5.1 Dialects of Kumaoni language
5.2 Kumaon Vani
6 See also
7 Further reading
9 External links
Kumaon is believed to have been derived from "Kurmanchal", meaning
land of the Kurmavatar (the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the
preserver according to Hinduism). The region of Kumaon is named after
During the time of the British control of the region, between 1815 and
1857 it was also known as Kemaon.
Nainital Lake, One of the four lakes of Kumaon
Kosi River valley near
Almora in Kumaon
The Kumaon region consists of a large Himalayan tract, together
with two submontane strips called the
Terai and the Bhabar. The
submontane strips were up to 1850 an almost impenetrable forest, given
up to wild animals; but after 1850 the numerous clearings attracted a
large population from the hills, who cultivated the rich soil during
the hot and cold seasons, returning to the hills in the rains. The
rest of Kumaon is a maze of mountains, part of the
some of which are among the loftiest known. In a tract not more than
225 km in length and 65 km in breadth there are over thirty
peaks rising to elevations exceeding 5500 m.
The rivers like Gori, Dhauli, and Kali rise chiefly in the southern
slope of the Tibetan watershed north of the loftiest peaks, amongst
which they make their way down valleys of rapid declivity and
extraordinary depth. The principal is the Sharda (Kali Ganga), the
Pindari and Kailganga, whose waters join the Alaknanda. The river
Sharda (Kali Ganga) forms the international boundary between
Nepal. The pilgrim route currently used to visit Kailash-Mansarovar
goes along this river and crosses into
Tibet at Lipu Lekh pass.
The chief trees are the Chir Pine, Himalayan Cypress, Pindrow Fir,
alder, sal or iron-wood, and saindan. Limestone, sandstone, slate,
gneiss and granite constitute the principal geological formations.
Mines of iron, copper, gypsum, lead and asbestos exist; but they are
not thoroughly worked. Except in the submontane strips and deep
valleys, the climate is mild. The rainfall of the outer Himalayan
range, which is first struck by the monsoon, is double that of the
central hills, in the average proportion of 2000 mm to
1000 mm. No winter passes without snow on the higher ridges, and
in some years, it is universal throughout the mountain tract. Frosts,
especially in the valleys, are often severe.
In the ancient period between 1300 and 1400 AD, after the
disintegration of Katyuri kingdom of Uttarakhand, eastern region of
Uttarakhand (Kumaon) was divided into eight different princely states
i.e., Baijnath-Katyuri, Dwarhat, Doti, Baramandal, Askot, Sira, Sora,
Sui (Kali kumaon). Later on, in 1581 AD after the defeat of Raika Hari
Mall (maternal uncle of Rudra Chand) with the hand of Rudra Chand all
these disintegrated parts came under King Rudra Chand and the whole
region was as Kumaon.
Temples at Kartikeyapura (now Baijnath), the capital of Katyuri Kings
Main article: Katyuri Kings
The Katyuri dynasty was of a branch of Kunindas origin and was founded
by Vashudev Katyuri. Originally from Joshimath, during their reign
they dominated lands of varying extent from the 'Katyur' (modern day
Baijnath) valley in Kumaon, between 7th and 11th centuries AD, and
established their capital at Baijnath in
Bageshwar district, which was
then known as Kartikeyapura and lies in the centre of 'Katyur' valley.
Brahmadev mandi in Kanchanpur District of
Nepal was established by
Katyuri king Brahma Deo.
At their peak, the Katyuri kingdom extended from
Nepal in the east to
Kabul, Afghanistan in the west, before fragmenting into numerous
principalities by the 12th century. They were displaced by the Chand
Kings in the 11th century AD. Architectural remains of the Katyur
dynasty's rule can be found in Baijnath and Dwarahat.
Rajbar dynasty of
Askot in Pithoragarh, was set up in 1279 AD, by
a branch of the Katyuri Kings, headed by Abhay Pal Deo, who was the
grandson of Katyuri king, Brahma Deo . The dynasty ruled the region
till it became part of the British Raj through the treaty of Sighauli
Fort in Champawat, the capital of Chand Kings, 1815
Main article: Chand Kings
The Chand kingdom was established by Som Chand, who came here from
Kannuaj near Allahabad, sometime in the 10th century, and displaced
Katyuri Kings (कत्यूरी नरेश), originally
from Katyur valley near Joshimath, who had been ruling the area from
the 7th century AD. He continued to call his state Kurmanchal and
established its capital in
Champawat in Kali Kumaon called so, due to
its vicinity to river Kali. Many temples built in this former capital
city, during the 11th and 12th century exist today, this includes the
Baleshwar and Nagnath temples.
They had brief skirmishes with the Rajput clans in Gangoli and Bankot
then predominant there, the Mankotis of Mankot, the
Attigaon-Kamsyar, Kalakotis and many other
Khas Rajput Clans of the
region. However they were able to establish their domain there.
Baj Bahadur of Kumaon ca. 1750.
One of most powerful rulers of Chand dynasty was Baz Bahadur
(1638–78) AD, who met Shahjahan in Delhi, and in 1655 joined forces
with him to attack Garhwal, which was then under the King Pirthi Sah.
Baz Bahadur subsequently captured the
Terai region including Dehradun,
which was thus separated from the Garhwal kingdom. Baz Bahadur
extended his territory east to Karnali river. In 1672, Baz Bahadur
started a poll tax, and its revenue was sent to Delhi as a tribute.
Baz Bahadur also built the Golu Devata Temple, at Ghorakhal, near
Bhimtal, after Lord Golu, a general in his army, who died valiantly
in battle. He also built the famous Bhimeshwara Mahadev Temple at
Towards the end of the 17th century,
Chand kings again attacked the
Garhwal kingdom, and in 1688, Udyot Chand erected several temples at
Almora, including Tripur Sundari, Udyot Chandeshwar, and Parbateshwar.
To mark his victory over Garhwal and Doti, the Parbateshwar temple was
renamed twice, to become the present Nanda Devi temple. Later,
Jagat Chand (1708–20), defeated the Raja of Garhwal and pushed him
away from Srinagar (in Uttarakhand, not to be confused with the
capital of present-day Indian Kashmir), and his kingdom was given to a
Brahmin. However, a subsequent king of Garhwal, Pradip Shah
(1717–72), regained control over Garhwal and retained Dehra Dun till
1757, when Rohilla leader, Najib-ul-Daula, established himself there,
though he was ousted soon by Pradip Shah.
Raikas Of Doti
Niranjan Malldeo was the founder of
Doti Kingdom around the 13th
century after a fall of Katyuris Kingdom. He was the son of Last
Katyuris of united Katyuris kingdom. Kings of
Doti were known as
Raikas. Later on Raikas, after overthrow
Khas Malla of Karnali Zone,
were able to form a strong Raikas Kingdom in Far Western Region and
Kumaon which was called Doti. So far, the historical evidence of
following Raikas have been discovered; Niranjan Malldev (Founder of
Doti Kingdom), Nagi Malla (1238 AD), Ripu Malla (1279 AD), Nirai Pal
(1353 AD may be of
Askot and his historical evidence of 1354 A.D has
been found in Almoda), Nag Malla (1384 AD), Dhir Malla (1400 AD), Ripu
Malla (1410 AD), Anand Malla (1430 AD), Balinarayan Malla (not known),
Sansar Malla (1442 AD), Kalyan Malla (1443 AD), Suratan Malla (1478
AD), Kriti Malla(1482 AD), Prithivi Malla (1488 AD), Medini Jay Malla
(1512 AD), Ashok Malla (1517 AD), Raj Malla (1539 AD), Arjun
Malla/Shahi (not known but he was ruling Sira as Malla and
Shahi), Bhupati Malla/Shahi (1558 AD), Sagaram Shahi (1567 AD), Hari
Malla/Shahi (1581 AD Last Raikas King of Sira and adjoining part of
Nepal ), Rudra Shahi (1630 AD), Vikram shahi (1642 AD), Mandhat shahi
(1671 AD), Raghunath shahi (1690 AD), Hari shahi (1720 AD), Krishna
Shahi (1760 AD), Deep shahi (1785 AD), Prithivi pati Shahi (1790 AD,
'he had fought several wars against British & Gokha attack on Doti
Kingdom. The Kingdom finally defeated and became a part of Gorkha the
Nepal in 1814 AD')  One of the biggest names among the
Doti is the name of Dr.K.I.Singh (from Dumrakot in Doti) who
became one of the most famous Prime Ministers of
Nepal had led the
popular revolt that overthrew the autocratic Rana Regime. He is a
national hero and TIME magazine in its obituary had referred to him as
'Robinhood of Nepal' and New York Times (NYT) and world media had
carried news item when he breathed his last.
Nepalese invasion and its defeat
3rd Gurkha Rifles
3rd Gurkha Rifles in Almora, 1895
In the early 19th century, the region was ruled by the Nepalese Gorkha
Kingdom. Gurkha army believed that entire mountainous region should be
under one Hindu king and all people speaking Pahari languages should
be one strong kingdom. The people of Kumaon requested the British many
times to help them overthrow Nepalese rule without realizing they are
asking help from the white master and will end up being slave.
According to folklore, when a British official was saved from the
prison of the Tibetan Joongpong (Governor) of
some Kumaonis, he pursued their case with the Resident at Delhi and
convinced him to attack the Gorkhas in Kumaon. Four thousand Kumaoni
braves under Harsh Dev Joshi, a chieftain of the Chand king who was
initially held responsible for the Gorkha invasion, joined the
British. The British had so far been severely routed by the Gorkhas at
several places (like the Battle of Jaithak and Malaun). But now the
joint forces of Kumaonis and British struck the Gorkhas in the Battle
of Syahidevi resulting in a complete rout of the Gorkhas. The Gorkha
Subba (governor) fled, and so did their commanders.
liberated. This is starting of the end of true Pahari rule in this
area. Kumaon opposed the eastern pahari but got subjugated to the
British and people of the Gangetic plain. The entire culture is
The Gorkhas were defeated and the way for the liberation of Garhwal
from the oppressive Gorkha rule was open. The British realised through
this war the potential of military expertise of these hillmen.
Inspired by their bravery, the British granted on the people of Kumaon
the title of martial race. They recruited heavily from them, and the
result was the
Kumaon Regiment (earlier the Hyderabad Regiment which
consisted mostly of Kumaonis).
Kumaon Province in British India, 1857
Later, the region was annexed by the British. In 1815 the Kumaon
region was joined with the eastern half of the Garhwal region as a
chief-commissionership on the non-regulation system, also known as the
Kumaon Province. It was governed for seventy years by three
administrators, Mr. Traill, Mr. J. H. Batten and Sir Henry Ramsay.
There was widespread opposition against British rule in various parts
of Kumaon. The
Kumaoni people especially
Champawat District rose in
rebellion against the British during the Indian Rebellion of 1857
under the leadership of the members like Kalu Singh Mahara.
In 1891 the division was composed of the three districts of Kumaon,
Garhwal and the Tarai; but the two districts of Kumaon and the Tarai
were subsequently redistributed and renamed after their headquarters,
Nainital and Almora.
Gandhiji's advent sounded a death knell for the British in Kumaon.
People now aware of the excesses of British Raj became defiant of it
and played an active part in the Indian Struggle for Independence.
Gandhiji was revered in these parts and on his call the struggle of
Salam Saliya Satyagraha led by Ram Singh Dhoni was started which shook
the very roots of British rule in Kumaon. Many people lost their
lives in the Saalam Satyagraha due to police brutality. Gandhiji named
Bardoli of Kumaon an allusion to the
Many Kumaonis also joined the
Indian National Army
Indian National Army led by Netaji
Subhash Chandra Bose.
An Indian soldier from 6th Battalion of the 6th
Kumaon Regiment at
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, 2015
Kumaonis have been famous for their valour, their courage was
legendary, their honour indomitable. The Kumaonis were never fully
subjugated by the powerful Muslim dynasties of Delhi. Kumaonis were
observed by the British, their valour was thus given recognition by
the British and was included in the British Army. It is interesting to
note that the 3rd Gorkha Rifles was known as the Keemaon battalion
when it was formed and it included Kumaonis as well as the Garhwalis
along with the Gorkhas. The Kumaonis, once accepted as a martial race,
were themselves to be recruited in the Hyderabad regiment and displace
the native troops, ultimately becoming the
Kumaon Regiment after
Independence of India. The
Kumaon Regiment is one of the most
decorated regiments of the Indian Army. The regiment traces its
origins with the British
Indian Army and has fought in various
campaigns including the two world wars. After independence, the
regiment has fought in all major conflicts involving India. They
showed their exceptional courage in the Indo-Chinese War, the Battle
Rezang La has been proverbial for valour.
Main article: Kumaoni language
Kumaoni language forms the Central subgroup of the Pahari
Kumaoni is one of the 325 recognized Indian languages, and is spoken
by over 2,360,000 (1998) people in Uttarakhand, primarily in districts
Almora, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Champawat, Udham Singh Nagar
as well as in areas of Himachal Pradesh and Nepal. It is also spoken
by Kumaonis resident in other Indian states; Uttar Pradesh, Assam,
Bihar, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.
UNESCO’s Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger designates Kumaoni
as language in the "unsafe" category and which requires consistent
Dialects of Kumaoni language
Although dialects of Kumaoni do not vary as greatly as neighboring
Garhwali dialects, there are several dialects spoken in the Kumaon
region. There is not single accepted method of dividing up the
dialects of Kumaoni. Broadly speaking, Kali (or Central) Kumaoni is
Almora and northern Nainital. North-eastern Kumaoni is
spoken in Pithoragarh. South-eastern Kumapni is spoken in
South-eastern Nainital. Western Kumaoni is spoken west of
Johari of the Johar Valley
Askoti of Askot
Bhabhri of Ramnagar 
Chaugarkhiyali of Chaugarkha
Danpuriya of Danpur
Gangoli of Ganai-Gangoli (Gangolihat)
Johari of Malla and Talla Johar
Khasparjiya of Almora
Kumaiya of Champawat
Pachhai of Pali-Pachhau (Ranikhet, Dwarahat)
Phaldakotiya of Phaldkot
Sirali of Sirakot (Didihat)
Soriyali of Sor Valley (Pithoragarh)
Bautadi of Baitada, Darchula and parts of Bajhang District in Nepal
Dotiyali of Doti
Scholars blelieve that Kumaoni has heavily influenced the Palpa
language of Nepal. There are also several unrelated Tibeto-Burman
languages spoken in the Kumaon region which have had some influence
Rang or Rung
These languages are typically spoken in Upper Reaches of Kumaon
With the aim to create a common platform for local communities of Supi
in Uttarakhand, TERI launched 'Kumaon vani', a community radio service
on 11 March 2010.
Margaret Alva inaugurated the
community radio station, the first in the state. The 'Kumaon Vani'
aims to air programmes on environment, agriculture, culture, weather
and education in the local language and with the active participation
of the communities. The radio station covers a radius of 10 km
reaching out to almost 2000 locals around Mukhteshwar
List of Kumaonis
Man-Eaters of Kumaon
Man-Eaters of Kumaon – a book
Iris kumaonensis (Iris from the region)
Kak, Manju (2017). In the Shadow of the Devi Kumaon: Of a Land, a
People, a Craft. Niyogi Books.
Upreti, Ganga Dutt (1894). Proverbs & folklore of Kumaon and
Garhwal. Lodiana Mission Press.
Oakley, E Sherman (1905). Holy Himalaya; the religion, traditions, and
scenery of Himalayan province (Kumaon and Garwhal). Oliphant Anderson
& Ferrier, London.
Raja Rudradeva of Kumaon (1910). Haraprasada Shastri, ed. Syanika
sastra: or A Book on Hawking. Asiatic Society, Calcutta.
^ Kumaon Information[permanent dead link]
^ James Prinsep (Editor)Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal,
Volume 6, Part 2 (1837), p. 653, at Google Books
^ John McClelland Some inquiries in the province of Kemaon: relative
to geology, and other branches of Natural Science (1835) at Google
^ John Forbes Royle Illustrations of the botany and other branches of
the natural history of the Himalayan Mountains and of the flora of
Cashmere (1839), p. 108, at Google Books
^ Vacation Places in Kumaon and Garhwal
^ a b c One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates
text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh,
ed. (1911). "Kumaon". Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.).
Cambridge University Press. p. 945.
^ a b History of
Nainital District. The Imperial Gazetter of India.
1909. p. 324.
^ "Chitai Temple". Archived from the original on 13 April 2009.
Retrieved 3 October 2016.
^ "Bhimtal". Archived from the original on 18 June 2008. Retrieved 3
Almora Temples Uttaranchal -
Uttarakhand Worldwide - Kumaon and
Almora Temples". www.uttaranchal.org.uk. Retrieved 3 October
^ History of Garhwal District. The Imperial Gazetteer of India. 1909.
p. 165. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
^ The Himalayan gazetteer -Atkinson
^ Robert Montgomery Martin, History of the Possessions of the
India Company, Volume 1, pg. 107
^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh,
Tribuneindia.com. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
^ рдореНрдпрд░ рдкрд╣рд╛реЬ on 5 March 2010
(2010-03-05). "Salt Kranti in Uttarakhand: An Important Chapter of
Freedom Movement". Merapahad.com. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
^  Archived 17 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
^ "Uttaranchal Dialects and Languages -
Uttarakhand Worldwide -
Kumaoni and Garhwali - Kumaon and Garhwal Dialects".
Uttaranchal.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
^ Super Admin (2010-03-13). "TERI launches "Kumaon Vani" community
radio service in Uttarakhand". News.oneindia.in. Retrieved
A New History of Uttrakhand by Dr. Y. S. Kathoch
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Kumaon.
Official site of Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) for tourist
Brief history of Kumaon
Division headquarters: Nainital
Udham Singh Nagar
State of Uttarakhand
Interim capitals: (Legislative: Dehradun; Judicial: Nainital) Proposed
Legislative Assembly (Interim Assembly)
Council of Ministers
Geography (Mountain peaks
Politics (Statehood movement
Education (Higher education
Udham Singh Nagar
Coordinates: 29°36′N 79°42′E / 29.6°N 79.7°E / 29.6;
Historical regions of North India