|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Temples in Chamoli
- Badrinath Temple
- Badhangarhi Temple-माँ बधाणगढ़ी
- Rudranath Temple
- Nagnath Pokhari
Welcome To Chamoli
Chamoli district is the second largest district of Uttarakhand state of India. It is bounded by the Tibet region to the north, and by the Uttarakhand districts of Pithoragarh and Bageshwar to the east, Almora to the south, Garhwal to the southwest, Rudraprayag to the west, and Uttarkashi to the northwest. The administrative headquarters of the district is Gopeshwar. Chamoli hosts a variety of destinations of pilgrim and tourists' interest. Badrinath, Hemkund Sahib, Valley of Flowers and Auli. Chamoli also happened to be a birthplace of "Chipko movement". Chamoli proved itself "the most spectacular in its natural assets; be it scenery, valley aspects, water-edges, floristic varieties, dramatic landform or the climatic cardinalities". The district is also inhabited by Bhotiya ethnic group who adhere to Hinduism.
The region covered by the district of Chamoli forms part of the Pauri Garhwal district of the Kumaon till 1960. It occupies the northeastern corner of the Garhwal tract and lies in the central or mid-Himalayas in the very heart of the snowy range described in ancient books as Bahirgiri, one of the three divisions of the Himalayan mountains.
Chamoli, the district of "Garhwal’’ the land of forts. Today’s Garhwal was known as kedar-khand in the past. In puranas kedar-khand was said to be abode of God. It seems from the facts vedas puranas, Ramayna and Mahabharat that these Hindu scriptures are scripted in kedar-khand. It is believed that God Ganesha first script of vedas in Vayas gufa situated in the last village Mana only four km. from Badrinath.
As the elevation of the district ranges from 800 mts. to 8000 mts above sea level the climate of the district vary largely depending on the altitude. The winter season is from about mid November to March. As most of the region is situated on the southern slopes of the outer Himalayas, monsoon currents can enter through the valley, the rainfall being heaviest in the monsoon from June to September.
Rainfall - Most of the rainfall occur during the period June to September when 70 to 80 percent of the annual precipitation is accounted for in the southern half of the district and 55 to 65 percent in the northern half. The effectiveness of the rains is, among others, related to low temperature which means less evapo-transpiration and forest or vegetation cover. However, the effectiveness is neither uniform nor even positive in areas where either the vegetational cover is poor or / and has steep slopes or the soils have been so denuded that their moisture absorption capacity has become marginal. Rain gauging stations put up at seven locations by Meteorological department of Govt. of India, represent the settled land mass of Chamoli district.
Temperature - The details of temperature recorded at the meteorological observatories in the district show that the highest temperature was 34 degree Celsius and lowest 0 degree Celsius. January is the coldest month after which the temperature begin to rise till June or July. temperature vary with elevation. During the winter cold waves in the wake of western disturbances may cause temperature to fall appreciably. Snow accumulation in valleys is considerable.
Humidity - The relative humidity is high during monsoon season, generally exceeding 70% on the average. The driest part of the year is the pre monsoon period when the humidity may drop to 35% during the afternoon. During the winter months humidity increases toward the afternoon at certain high stations.
Cloudiness - Skies are heavily clouded during the monsoon months and for short spells when the region is affected by the passage of western disturbances. During the rest of the year the skies are generally clear to lightly clouded.
Winds - Owing to the nature of terrain local affect are pronounced and when the general prevailing winds not too strong to mask these effect, there is a tendency for diurnal reversal of winds, the flow being anabatic during the day and katabatic at night, the latter being of considerable force.
Chamoli district is crisscrossed by several important rivers and their tributaries. Alaknanda, traversing a distance of 229 km. before it confluence with Bhagirathi at Devprayag and constituting the Ganges, is the major river.
The Alaknanda originates at a height of 3641 meters below Balakun peak 16 km. upstream from Badrinath form the two glaciers of Bhagirath Kharak and Satopanth. The two glaciers rise from the eastern slopes of Chaukhamba (7140 meters) peak, Badrinath peak and its satellite peaks. These peaks separates the Gangotri group of glaciers in the west. The major portion of the Alaknanda basin falls in Chamoli district. From its source up to Hallang (58 km), the valley is treated as upper Alaknanda valley. The remaining part of the area is known as lower Alanknanda valley. While moving from its source, the river flows in a narrow deep gorge between the mountain slopes of Alkapuri, from which it drives its name. All along its course, it drains its tributaries -
1. Saraswati joins the Alaknanda 9 km downstream from Mana.
2. Khilrawan Ganga joins it below the Badrinath shrine and Bhuynder Ganga below HanumanChatti.
3. Dhauliganga meets at Vishnuprayag above Joshimath. The river Dhauliganga rises from the Nitti Pass at about 5070 meters. Its valley lies between the Kamet groups of peaks in the west and Nandadevi group in the east. The Dhauli takes a northern course at Malari. Between Malari and Tapovan, it is almost a narrow gorge with perpendicular cliffs on either side. several thousand meters high. the Dhauliganga in its turn is fed by GirthiGanga at Kurkuti and Rishiganga 500 metres below Reni.
4. Downstream small tributaries- Helang, Garud, Patal and Birahiganga join the Alaknanda between Joshimath and Chamoli.
5. Nandakini, which rises from Semudra Glaciers drainage the western slopes of Trishul mountains, joins it at Nandprayag.
6. Southeast, river Pinddar joins the Alaknanda at Karnprayag. The Pinddar river is fed by the Milam and Pinddar glacier from the Nandadevi group of glacier. The Pinddar river, before joining Alaknanda, is fed by Kaliganga and Bheriganga.
The rivers of Chamoli district, generally flow with great force in steep and narrow channels often resulting in excessive erosion and collapse of the banks.
The houses in the district have not been built according to any town planning scheme but have been put up haphazardly in clusters on level ground at places where water springs are accessible or on the bank of the river in the valley. The houses are built of stones and are generally double-storeyed, a few having three to five storeys, the very low rooms on the ground floor, which are usually 1.8 metres high, being used for housing the cattle. Each house has in front of it a courtyard called a Chauk. A mud or stone staircase or a wooden ladder leads to the upper storey, the roof being of wood. The height of the upper storey is generally 2.1 metres and the roof is usually a sloping structures of timber covered with Patals (quartzite slabs), the well off use corrugated galvanized iron sheets. Generally the upper storey has a veranda in front of the upper rooms. The houses in the higher regions are two to three storeys with balconies all round and paved courtyard in front where people do their threshing, weaving, spinning and other house hold works. A few houses have five or six storeys, the topmost being used as the kitchen. At times the cattle sheds are made at some distance from the villages. The houses are built in rows of half a dozen or so and strikingly picturesque in their fort like appearance.
The staple grains consumed by the people of the district are wheat, rice, maze, mandua and jhanjora, the last three being coarse grains generally eaten by the poorer sections. The pulses consumed are urad, gahat, bhatt, soontha, tur, lopia and masor. The Hindus of the district mostly vegetarian by habit and preference and although the Muslims, Christians and Sikhs are generally non-vegetarian, those not able to afford eating meat daily due to want of fund or local unavailability often resulting to a vegetarian diet.
Bichhuwas (toe-rings of silver) are worn by married women whose husband are alive. Keels (small studs) worn on the left nostril, nose ring (Naths) and ear rings made of gold and hansulis (ornament worn round the neck), chandanhar (necklaces) and necklaces consisting of colored beads or rupees or of the teeth and claws of the Panther are generally worn by women and girls. Silver amulets set with turquoise are also worn round the neck and arms. Married women wear anklets made of copper or silver. Churis (Bangles) of gold, silver or of colored glass are usually worn by women and girls. Bhotiya women wear this type of jewellery and articles made of ivory are also worn at times. Men usually wear rings and some wear gold chain round their neck.
The dress of the people of the district is simple, economical and well suited for the hill environment. The usual dress for men is a Kurta (long lose shirt) or shirt, Pyjama (tight from the knee down), Sadri (jacket), a cap and a knee-length coat, the last named being worn in winter. Those better off are increasingly taking to trousers and buttoned up coats. Women often wear the Sari and full sleeved shirt or Angra (a sort of jacket) in place of a shirt, the well to do wearing woolen jacket in winter. In the rural areas most of the women still wear the long full shirt, tight fitting long sleeved jacket and an Orhni (long scarf for covering the head and shoulders). Girls students often wear the Salwar (very full pyjama narrow at the ankle), Kamiz (knee length shirt) and Dupatta ( long scarf for the head and shoulders). The Bhotiyas who lives at high altitudes generally wear woolen clothes. The usual wear for the men are pyjamas, shirt, coat and cap. The women wear gay colored Angras, a Ghagra (long full shirt), phantu (colored scarf) and a woolen shawl which is worn so as to make a pocket on each side. Both men and women wear a long piece of cotton cloth as a tight Kamarband (a sort of belt).
Living in the mountains mostly in places that are not easily accessible the people of the district have been able to preserve their culture, folklore, folksongs and folk dances, the last, a distinctive feature of the district, being seasonal, traditional and religious, some of the better known being described below - The Thadiya dance, which is accompanied by song, is performed on Basant Panchami, the festival celebrating the advent of
Spring, the Mela, another dance, is perform on Deepawali and the Pandava during the winter after the harvesting of the crop and depicts the principal events of the Mahabharata. Other folk dances are Jeetu Bhagdawal and Jagar or Ghariyali. These dances enact mythological stories, the participants, both men and women, put on their traditional colorful dress and dance to the tune of drums and Ransinghas. Another dance performed during the fairs and accompanied by song is the Chanchari, in which both men and women participate.
Folk songs are usually traditional and are sung particularly by the women, who work very hard in the fields from morning till night in all kind of weather. During the month Chaitra the women of the village gather at a central place and sing traditional song which generally relate deeds of heroism, love and the hard life which they have to lead in the hills. In the district, fairs, festivals, religious and social gatherings are the main occasions for recreation and amusement. On special occasions people arrange Swangs (open air dramatic performances) particularly depicting scenes or legends connected with Shiva and Parvati.
Fairs And festivals
Festivals play an important role in the life of people in the district, as elsewhere, and are spread over the entire year, the most important being briefly described below.
1-Ram Navami- falls on the ninth day of the bright half of Chaitra to celebrate the birthday of Rama. The followers of Rama in the district observe fast throughout the day and the Ramayana is read and recited and people gather to listen to the recitations.
2-Nag Panchmi- is celebrated in the district on the fifth day of the bright half of Sravana to appease the Nagas or serpent gods. Figures of snakes are drawn in flour in wooden boards and are worshipped by the family by offering milk, flowers and rice.
3-Raksha-Bandhan is traditionally associated with the Brahmanas and falls on the last day of Sravana. On this occasion a sister ties a Rakshasutra (thread of protection)- commonly known as Rakhi - round the right wrist of her brother in token of the protection she expects to receive from him. Fairs are held on this occasion at Kedarnath, Karnaprayag and Nandprayag.
3-Janmastami - the festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, falls on the eighth day of the dark half of Bhadra. As in other parts of the state, devotees in the district fast the whole day, breaking their fast only at mid-night when worshipers throng the temples and foregather to have a Jhanki (glimpse) of the shrines and cradles specially installed, decorated and illuminated in homes and other places to commemorate the deity's birth. A special feature of this festival is the singing of devotional songs in praise of Krishna in shrines and homes. The Chhati (sixth-day ceremony after birth) is also celebrated by the devout. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm at Nagnath, Badrinath and Kedarnath.
4-Dushera - falls on the tenth day of the bright half of Asvina and commemorates the victory of Rama over Ravana, the preceding nine days being celebrated as Navaratri dedicated to the worship of the goddess Durga. Ramlila celebrations are held at different places in the district particularly at Kalimath.
5-Dipavali - the festival of lights, is celebrated in the district, as elsewhere, on the last day of the dark half of Kartika when the houses are illuminated and the goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. Festivities start two days earlier, with Dhanteras, when metal utensils are purchased as a token of the desired prosperity, followed by Naraka Chaturdashi when a few small earthen lamps are lit as a preliminary to the main day of festival. For traders and businessmen Dipavali marks the end of the fiscal year and they pray for prosperity in the new year. On this occasion the people of the district perform mela nritya, a type of folk dance, a distinctive feature of the district.
6-Makar Sankranti - is a bathing festival which falls either on 13 or 14 January when people take bath in the Alaknanda and big fairs (Uttaraini) are held at Karnprayag and Nandprayag.
7-Sivaratri - falls on the 14th day of the dark half of Phalgun and is observed in the honour of Siva. People fast throughout the day and a vigil is kept at night when the deity is worshipped. The Siva temples are specially decorated and illuminated and large numbers of devotees offer water and flowers to the symbols and images of Siva and sing devotional songs in his praise. Big fairs are held on this occasion at most of the Siva temples of the district particularly at Dewal, Bairaskund, Gopeshwar, and Nagnath.
8-Holi - the spring festival, is celebrated on the full moon day of Phalgun. People start singing Phaags (Songs of Phalgun) during the nights, long before the festival. A flag or banner is installed at a central place in the village on the 11th day of bright of Phalgun and is burnt on the 15th day which is known as Chharoli when ash mark is put on the foreheads of friends and relatives. The following day is marked by common rejoicing when, till about noon, people throw coloured water and coloured powder on each other and in evening visit relatives and friends.