Champawat is a district in Uttarakhand in Northern India. Champawat is situated at an altitude of around 1,610 metres above sea level. It was earlier part of Almora district before becoming an independent district on itself. Champawat is surrounded Pithoragarh district on the north, Nepal on the east, Udham Singh Nagar on the south and by Nainital districton the west. It derives its name from Champawati, Arjun Deo’s daughter. Important towns in Champawat district are Champawat, Tanakpur, Lohaghat and Banbasa.
Champawat topography consists of uneven landscapes, mountain ranges, rivers, rivulets and large valleys. Ladhia Panaar, Sharda, Jagbura Lohawati, and Ramganga are important rivers of Champawat which meet at Pancheswar in the Kali River. The district of Champwat is characterized by varied climatic conditions. It is hot in the Terai region while it is cold in the hilly areas. As a result, summers are hot in Terai while it is extremely cold in the Terai region during the winter months.
Champawat has a wide variety of fauna and flora as almost 65 per cent of the district is covered with fauna and flora. Teak, Babool, Ecliptus, Sagon Bail and Jamun are some of the important trees found in the district. A large variety of minerals are ores are available in the hills of Champawat. Champawat is regarded as the place where Kurmavtar or the turtle incarnation of Lord Vishnu took place. Champawat is also noted as the home of the Champawat Tiger. It was formerly the capital of the rulers of Chand dynasty.
Prime Attractions of Champawat
Baleshwar Temple :
The cluster of temples at Baleshwar are dedicated to the deities namely, Ratneshwar , Baleshwar and Champawati Durga. The group of temples was built by the early rulers of Chand dynasty. A visit to the temple complex will revel how intricate the structural designs and the designs defy the erosion of time and still showcases the marvelous carvings. The carvings on the temple walls and pillars hold within itself the glory of Indian architecture in ancient times.
Nagnath Temple : This is yet another ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple bear a tragic past as it was demolished by the invaders of Rohilla and Gorkha tribes, during 8th century. The temple proudly showcases a magnum doorway carved excellently. The edifice is a double-storied wooden structure that is the sole remnant now. The Nagnath temple is a brilliant specimen of the traditional Kumaoni temple architecture.
Reetha Sahib Gurudwara :
Reetha sahib is one of the famous Sikh pilgrimage place. It is placed at 72 kms. far from Champawat, at the confluence of Lodhiya and Ratiya rivers, near village Deyuri. The first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak ji visited this place. On that time Gorakhpanthi Jogis were lived there. Gurunanak ji held much spiritual discussion with Gorakhpanthi. Gurunanak ji had shown them his powers. He took a Reetha fruit from the Reetha tree. When Gorakhpanthi eat the fruit they found its taste sweet. This is the reason that this place is called Meetha Reetha Sahib. These trees are still there in the premises of Gurudwara.Every year on the day of Baisakhi Purnima a fair is held at the Gurudwara sahib.
Lohaghat : is a very important historical as well as a mythological center in the region. Many ancient stories are associated with this place. The river Lohawati flows past Lohaghat making it a beautiful sight for the nature lovers. It is also a very popular excursion spot. It is at a distance of 62 kms from Pithoragarh and 14 kms from Champawat.
Tanakpur : is a town and a municipal board in Champawat district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Known in the northern part of India as the gateway for the Famous Purnagiri Temple (around 30 km from here), Tanakpur is a calm and small town located on riverside of Sarda River. It is located at the foothills and is the last plain area on the road to Kumaoun zone of Uttarakhand. It acts as a junction for the Kumaon District”s mountainous part. It is also the first point in the Kailash Manasarovar Pilgrimage. Gradually benefitting from the nationwide progress, Tanakpur is growing steadily into a buzzing town.
Vanasur-ka-Kila : This fort is situated at an elevation of 1859 mts., 7 kms. from Lohaghat and 20 kms. from Champawat. (Lohaghat to Karnakarayat is 6 kms. by bus and Karnakarayat to Vanasur-ka-Kila 1 km. by foot.
Purnagiri Temple: 15 km from tanakur. Well connected by bus and private taxis. Boom: a place near on the way to poornagiri, famous for its white sand beach/river bank where Pilgrims takes a holy dip in river Sharda. Banwasa: NHPC electricity plant.
Mayawati Ashram :
22 kms. from Champawat and 9 kms. from Lohaghat, this ashram is situated at an altitude of 1940 mts. Mayawati shot into prominence after the Advaita Ashram was established here. The ashram attracts spiritualists from India and abroad.
Ek Hathiya Ka Naula : It is a beautifully carved work on stone. Ek Hathiya ka Naula is situated 5km from Champawat and it was constructed in just one night by a one handed artisan.
Gwal Devta :
A deity of widespread faith and influence, Gwal Devta also known as Goril or Goll, is considered to be the presiding deity of justice. It is believed that when approached, Gwal Devta dispenses justice to a helpless victim of injustice and cruelty. Historically, Goril a Katyuric prince of Champawat, known for his unwavering justice and fair play, was himself a victim of planned conspiracy hatched up by his step mother, who had him thrown into a river, locked up in an iron cage. Held in high esteem as a symbol of justice, a temple was constructed in his honour after his demise at Golchaurh in Champawat. Ever since, he has grown into a deity of great influence. The temples attracts innumerable pilgrims round the year.
Kranteshwar Mahadev : This sacred shrine is situated on the top a hill to the east of Champawat. This place is also known as Kurmapad or Kandev.
Abott Mount : Situated at an elevation of 6500mts Abott Mount offers a peaceful and picturesque environment. The enchanting snow clad Himalayan peaks can be seen from Abott Mount. Abott Mount is located away from the city and there are only 13 secluded cottages spread over this hill. Abott Mount is situated in 24kms from Champawat.
Devidhura : It is situated 45km from Champawat offering the beauteousness of nature and its pristine beauty. There is a famous Varahi temple here which holds great importance amongst the localites. Devidhura is also an adventurous site for trekking. There is a unique tradition of Bagwal at this place (organised stone throwing between two groups) is practiced on the festival of Raksha Bandhan. The tale ‘Temple Tiger’ of the famous Jim Corbett is associated with the Devidhura temples.
Accommodations Hotels in Champawat
There are KMVN rest houses in Champawat where you can enjoy a comfortable stay at affordable prices. Akashdeep Hotel, Keshav Hotel, Baleshwar Resort and Mount View Hotel are also better places to stay in Champawat. There are other hotels and rest houses available at Champawat.
By Air :- Naini Saini is the nearest airport to Champawat situated 78kms away in Pithoragarh. Taxis are easily available from the airport to Champawat and other popular destinations of Uttarakhand.
By Rail :- Nearest railway station from Champawat is Tanakpur from where taxis and buses are easily available to Champawat. Champawat is situated 60km from Tanakpur.
By Road :- Champawat district is very well connected by motorable roads from all the major towns of the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand state like Nainital, Pithoragarh, Udham Singh Nagar etc. Taxis and buses are easily available to Champawat from these destinations. Champawat is situated 386kms from Delhi, 155kms from Nainital, 76kms from Pithoragarh and 130kms from Almora.