The mythological legends suggest that Lord Vishnu appeared here as ‘Kurma avatar’ (the tortoise incarnation). The story of Golla Devta is also associated with Gorilla Chaur of Champawat. Jim Corbett, the famous hunter came to this region in the first decade of the 20th century to hunt for man eating tigers. His first book, “Man Eaters of Kumaon” is related to Champawat.
Champawat District Stats
- District Headquarters: Champawat
- Area: 1781 sq km
- Total Population: 2,59,315
- Literacy Rate: 71.11%
- Altitude: 1610 m
- Language: Kumauni, Hindi
- Best Season: Throughout the year
Places to Visit in Champawat
- Baleshwar Temple: Baleshwar temple is dedicated to lord Shiva. It was built by the Chand rulers. Baleshwar Temple is a marvelous symbol of stone carving work. There isn’t any historical manuscript that dates the Baleshwar temple, however it is believed to be built between 10 – 12 century A.D. Baleshwar Temple Photos
- Nagnath Temple: It is another excellent example of ancient architecture of Kumaon.
- Ek Hathiya Ka Naula: It is 5 kms from Champawat and is believed to have been constructed in just one night by the one handed artisan.
- Kranteshwar Mahadev: The sacred shrine atop a hill to the east of Champawat is also called as Kurmapad or Kandev.
- Lohaghat: This historical town 14 kms from Champawat is set on the banks of river Lohawati and is noted for its natural beauty and mythological legends.
- Mayawati Ashram (9 kms): The ashram amidst scenic surroundings attracts large number spiritualists from all over the world. Swami Vivekanand decided to shift the publication office of ‘Prabuddh Bharat’ from Madras to Mayawati during his visit to Almora in 1898.
- Abbot Mount (8 kms): The beautiful site offers a peaceful and secluded holiday time. It affords breathtaking view of the Himalayan peaks.
- Devidhura (45 kms): The charming site is known for the Varahi temple, where a unique tradition of Bagwal (organised stone throwing between two groups) is practiced on Raksha Bandhan. Jim Corbett’s tale ‘Temple Tiger’ is associated with the Devidhura temples. It is also an excellent site for trekking. More about Devidhura
- Pancheshwar (40 kms): It is located at the confluence of river Kali and Saryu on the Nepal border. Pancheshwar is famous for the Shiva temple of Pancheshwar, where Jaat of Chaumu is worshipped as protector of animals.
- Vanasur-Ka-Kila (7 kms): This fort built during the medieval times is said to be associated with legendary Vanasur, who was assassinated here. The Lohawati River originates nearby.
- Meetha Reetha Saheb : This important Sikh pilgrim centre is 72 kms from Champawat. It is said that Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs came here and had spiritual discussions with Gorakhpanthi Jogis. The Gurudwara here stands at the confluence of Lodhiya and Ratiya rivers, near village Deyuri.
- Purnagiri Temple : The sacred shrine atop the Poornagiri hill is 20 kms from Tanakpur and 92 kms from Champawat. Large number of devotee visits the shrine from all over the country, especially during the Chaitra Navratri in the month of March – April. The temple affords awe-inspiring views of the expanse of river Kali, its islands, the township of Tanakpur and a few Nepali villages. More about Purnagiri Temple
- Shyamlatal : It is 56 kms from Champawat and is famous for the Swami Vivekanand Ashram on the banks of the beautiful Shyamlatal lake. The blue waters of the lake sprawl over an area of 1.5 sq. kms.
How to reach Champawat
- By Air: The nearest airport for Champawat is Naini Saini, Pithoragarh (72 kms). However, the nearest operational airport is at Pantnagar, Udham Singh Nagar.
- By Rail: Nearest rail head for Champawat is Tanakpur at a distance of 75 kms
- By Road: The town of Champawat is well connected by road to other parts of the State like Nainital (233 kms), Haldwani (193 kms), Pithoragarh (75 kms) and Tanakpur (75 kms) via scenic routes.