Pithoragarh is a city with a Municipal Board in the Pithoragarh district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, was carved out of district of Almora in 1960.
Pithoragarh is located at 29.58°N 80.22°E? / 29.58; 80.22. It has an average elevation of 1,514 metres (4,967 feet).
In 1841 Pilgrim (Barron), while passing through Pithoragarh, wrote : "... The first view of Pithoragarh is striking, in one instant, when you reach the top of the pass (Chandak) which overlooks it, a wide valley bursts on the view, with the small neat military cantonment, fort and scattecyan villages, and meandering streams, which distribute fertility to thousands of well cultivated fields.... I was apprehensive, too, that the beauties of Nainital had exhausted the store, and found that I was never in my life more mistaken."
After its conquest by the Rajwar of Uku Bhartpal in 1364, Pithoragarh was for the whole of the remaining 14th century ruled by three generations of Pals. The kingdom extended from Pithoragarh to Askot. According to a tamrapatra (brass plate inscription) dating back to 1420, the Pal dynasty was uprooted by the Vijay Brahm of Brahma (Bum) dynasty of Nepal but subsequently, following the death of Gyan Chand in a conflict with Kshetra Pal, the supremacy of Pal dynasty was restored.
It is believed that Bhartichand, an ancestor of Gyan Chand, had replaced Pals, the ruler of Pithoragarh, after defeating them in 1445. In the 16th century, the Chand dynasty again took control over Pithoragarh town and built a new fort, in 1790, on the hill where the present Girls Inter College is situated. Subsequently, under the British rule, Pithoragarh remained a tehsil under Almora district until it was elevated to a district in 1960.
The district is named after its headquarters town, Pithoragarh. Tradition has it that during the reign of the Chand Rajas of Kumaon, one Piru, also called Prithvi Gosain, built a fort here and named it Prithvigarh which, in course of time, got changed into Pithoragarh."
Once the bastion of the Chand rulers, Pithoragarh town is home to many temples and forts belonging to that era.
The town had two forts, one of which has been demolished, its place being taken by the Government Girls’ Intermediate College building. The building of the other fort houses the treasury and the tahsil.
Other places of interest in Pithoragarh are Patal Bhuvaneshwar (Gangolihat), Chandak, Dewalthal, Dharchula, Munsiyari and Kali Mandir of Gangolihat. Kumaon University College is the main educational institution in the district for higher studies.
About 5 km. from the place there is a small and beautiful place named Chandag which houses an asylum for lepers. It is said that a goddess killed two devils, Chand and Mund, at this place. The episode gave the place the name Chandghat, Chandag appearing to be its corruption.
Pithoragarh Fort: It is set atop a hill on the outskirts of the town. The fort was built by the Gorkhas in 1789.
Kapileshwar Mahadev (3 km): The cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva affords fine view of the Soar valley and lofty Himalayan peaks.
Maharajke Park: This park was built by Indian Military in the memory of soldiers died in Kashmir and gives a lovely view of surroundings, mainly small peaks covered with only grass and bushes having almost no trees; it is a lofty park with adequate area and a small canteen. Many visitors from Pithoragarh and surrounding places visit there for holidays like New Year parties etc.
Kamakhya Devi Temple: Another beautiful site, temple of Kamakhya Devi, situated at the top of small hills near the town. It also gives a majestic view of surrounding valley and a peaceful place for one to leave the worldly up-downs for moment.
Sumeru Resort: Beautiful site and complete entertainment on the lap of nature with modern facilities.
The small town has been extensively described in a novel by American author Bradley Swift titled, From Pithoragarh to Pittsburg.