By Sanjeev Nayyar Sanjeev@esamskriti.com | 2012

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Drove to Pithoragarh from Mayavati Ashram, took about 2 hours. Very scenic drive. Pithoragarh is a big town. It neighbors Tibet in the north and Nepal in the east. Locals said Nepal border is about an hour away. U see an overview of Pithoragarh clicked from hill top where is Kapileshwar Mahadev temple.

This river is enroute from Mayavati Ashram and is called Pithoragarh Ghat. The hill that you see in centre of pic is what we crossed. Hats off to the BRO (border roads organization) for making and maintaining roads in such difficult terrain.

Whilst on the bridge saw 108 emergency medical van. Saw these all over Kumaon. Good facility provided to those living in these areas. Town is on the route of Kailash Mansrovar Yatra.

Enroute to Pithoragarh is Gurna Devi Mandir. All those driving through stop by and take blessings of the deity - is like praying for safe journey. Temple has many many bells like saw elsewhere in Kumaon. 20 kms before Pithoragarh is Thal Kedar where a large fair is held during Shivaratri.

A few kms away from the town, top of the hill is Chandak ka Mosta (name of local deity) Mandir. U see entrance to temple. Liked the artistic entrance. Get a great view of the town from here. Town is at a height of 1645 metres.

A view of the temple. Like other temples has number of bells. Devotees tie the bells after their wish is fulfilled. The town is known for its woollen clothes and cane handicrafts. Since we were short of time could not see.

Inside the temple. It is also called White Manu Temple, dedicated to the Goddess, who on invocation brings rains. The Pithoragarh Fort is not impressive can miss. Kapileshwar Mahadev Mandir is a must see whose pic u shall see later.

A family was conducting a havan. Person that you see on extreme right of pic is a local poet SHOOL. We stopped the car to ask for directions when met him. He was very very helpful. Took me to Navodhya Kala Kendra (Shri Bisht) who organise local festivals and accompanied us to the temple as well. I was very touched.

Earlier temple was at one end of the town. At the other is the Kapileshwar Mahadev temple that you see. It is nearly a one hour trek from the main road thru numerous villages. Trek is steep at times. Below the temple is a cave which u shall see in next pic.

Entrance to cave. U enter cave from right side of pic and come out from left. Earlier Rishis and Swamis meditated here. Today there is only one Swami who lives here. There was no light in the cave and I was alone so did not go inside. Very powerful place - could feel the vibrations.

View from temple top. Pithoragarh is also called Little Kashmir. Centre of pic you can see a small airstrip but ie not functional now. Uploading pictures of Chaliya Utsav (festival) separately.

Another view of town. Left of pic u can see stadium. Big hill that you see on right of pic has a temple on top. It is called Asur Chula Mandir (named after a local deity). Our next stop was Dharchula which is about a 4 hour drive.

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