Pithoragarh district, a part of the Kumaon division is a district of Uttarakhand state with its administrative headquarters located at Pithoragarh town. Some of its natives believe that the place was named after the King Pithora Chand from the Chand Dynasty. On the other hand, according to some others the place got its name from the fort called Pithora Garh in the Saur Valley which was constructed by Prithvi Raj Chauhan of the Chauhan Rajputs. During different periods of time the lace was ruled by different dynasties namely Pals, Bams, Chands and many more. After the place was conquered by Bhartpal, the Rajwar of Uku (at present in Nepal) in the year 1364 and Pithoragarh was ruled by its three generations for the last 14th century. Moreover, the kingdom extended from Pithoragarh to Askot. As per a tamrapatra (inscribed copper or brass plaque) from 1420, the Pal dynasty, based out of Askot was completely destroyed by Chand kings. Then Vijay Brahm (of the Brahm dynasty from Doti) was made the King of that empire. Later the death of Gyan Chand in a conflict with Kshetra Pal, the Pals were able to regain the throne. The Chand dynasty also ruled the place for a significant period of time. On 2nd December 1815, British came to this region and began to rule over it. At that time Nepal was forced to sign the Sugauli Treaty. Pithoragarh, as a district came into existence in the year 1960 but earlier it was a tehsil under the Almora district of Uttarakhand. In 1997, a portion of the Pithoragarh district was carved out from it in order to form the new Champawat district.
Deep Joshi, an eminent Indian social worker and NGO activist was born in the year 1947 at Puriyag in the Pithoragarh district. The Government of India honoured him with the prestigious Padma Shri Award in 2010.
Geographically, the district lies at 29°58'N latitude, 80°22'E longitude and 1514 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 29.35% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 7,090 sq km. and it is bounded by Tibet Autonomous Region on the North and East, Nepal and Champawat district on the South and Chamoli district, Bageshwar district and Almora district on the West. The climate of the district remains pleasant throughout the year. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 2212.70 mm in the year of 2021-2022.
Administration wise, the district is divided into the district comprises 6 sub-districts, 3 towns and 1,675 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 4,83,439 out of which 2,39,306 are males and 2,44,133 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 1020 (females for every 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 4.58% including 5.14% were males and 4.03% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 98.28% of the total population. The population density in the district is 68 (persons per sq. km.). According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 96.08%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 8,517 out of which 4,311 were males and 4,206 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 1,786 out of which 1,122 were males and 664 were females.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district. Most of the lands in the district are use for agricultural purposes. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in the district are green apples, himalayan pears, yellow plums, oranges, mulberry, red lentils, green lentils, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the famers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. The district is rich in mineral resources as well. Magnesium ore, copper ore, limestone, slate stone, etc are the foremost mineral resources found in the district. In the year 2017-18 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 6,97,669 lakhs at current price and Rs. 5,59,188 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2017-18 was Rs. 6,15,003 lakh at current price and Rs. 4,94,679 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost during the period 2017-18 was Rs. 1,24,920 At Current Price and during the period 2016-17 Rs. 82,386 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district is well known an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 82.25% out of which 92.75% are males and 72.29% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 3,45,550 including 1,89,623 are males and 1,55,927 are females.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Didihat, a beautiful place full of mesmerising natural sceneries is located at a distance of 54 km. from Pithoragarh. It is a perfect destination for pilgrims also since the famous ancient Shira-kot temple of Lord Malay Nath is situated in it. Narayan Ashram, a wonderful ashram established by Narayan Swamy is situated at Sausa near Pangu in the district. The Ashram was primarily made to help Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrims. The ashram has been engaged in socio-spiritual works. Pithoragarh Fort, constructed by the Gorkhas in 1789 is set atop a hill in the district. At present the fort is used as a girl’s school. Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary, covers an area of 599.93 sq km. is a wild life sanctuary. It is located around the place Askot near Didihat in the Pithoagarh district. Some other places of interest in the district are Dharchula, Dhwaj, Jauljibi, Rai Gufa, Munsiyari, Madkot and many more.