Pithoragarh district is the easternmost Himalayan district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is naturally landscaped with high Himalayan mountains, snow-capped peaks, passes, valleys, alpine meadows, forests, waterfalls, perennial rivers, glaciers, and springs. The flora and fauna of the area have rich ecological diversity. Pithoragarh has many temples and ruined forts from the once flourishing reign of the warrior Chand Kingdom.
Some attribute the name to King Pithora Chand from the Chand Dynasty, while others cite Prithvi Raj Chauhan of the Chauhan Rajputs, who built a fort named Pithora Garh in the Saur Valley.
After its conquest by Bhartpal, the Rajwar of Uku (now in Nepal), in the year 1364, Pithoragarh was ruled for the rest of the 14th century by three generations of Pals, and the kingdom extended from Pithoragarh to Askot.
According to a tamrapatra (inscribed copper or brass plaque) from 1420, the Pal dynasty, based out of Askot, was uprooted by Chand kings. Vijay Brahm (of the Brahm dynasty from Doti) took over the empire as King. Following the death of Gyan Chand, in a conflict with Kshetra Pal, the Pals were able to regain the throne.
British rule began on 2 December 1815 when Nepal was forced to sign the Sugauli Treaty. Pithoragarh remained a tehsil under Almora district until 1960 when its status was elevated to that of a district. There was an army cantonment, a church, and a mission school, resulting in the spread of Christianity in the region.
Kumaoni, with its numerous variations, is the most widely spoken language. The language is written in Devanagari script. The Bhotiya tribe speak a dialect called Beyansi (also known as Bhotia or Hunia), which is a language of the Tibeto-Burman family. The Van Rawat tribe speaks their own unique Kumaoni variant.
There are several Sino-Tibetan languages of the West Himalayish branch are spoken in Pithoragarh district. These include the Rawat language, Darmiya language, Chaudangsi language, and Byangsi language. The Rangas language was formerly spoken in Pithoragarh district and is now extinct.
Pithoragarh town, being in a valley, is relatively warm during summer and cool during winter. During the coldest months of December and January, the tropical and temperate mountain ridges and high locations receive snowfall and have an average temperature of 5.5–8.0 °C (41.9–46.4 °F). Pithoragarh district has extreme variation in temperature due to the large variations in altitude. The temperature rises from mid-March through mid-June. The areas above 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) remain in a permanent snow cover. Regions lying at 3,000–3,500 metres (9,800–11,500 ft) become snowbound for four to six months. At places like the river gorges at Dharchula, Jhulaghat, Ghat and Sera, temperatures reach 40 °C (104 °F). The annual average rainfall is 36.7 centimetres (14.4 in).. ISBN 8170998980. Missing or empty |title= (help) After June the district receives monsoon showers. Winter is a time for transhumance – the seasonal migration of the Bhotiya tribe with their herds of livestock to lower, warmer areas.