) is one of the two regions and administrative divisions of Uttarakhand
, a mountainous state of northern India
, the other being Garhwal
. It includes the districts of Almora
, and Udham Singh Nagar
. It is bounded on the north by Tibet
, on the east by Nepal
, on the south by the state of Uttar Pradesh
, and on the west by the Garhwal
region. The people of Kumaon are known as Kumaonis. It is home to a famous Indian Army
regiment, the Kumaon Regiment
. Important towns of Kumaon are Haldwani
is the administrative centre of Kumaon Division.
The Kumaon region consists of a large Himalayan
tract, together with two submontane
strips called the Terai
and the Bhabhar
. The submontane strips were up to 1850 an almost impenetrable forest, given up to wild animals; but after 1850 the numerous clearings attracted a large population from the hills, who cultivated the rich soil during the hot and cold seasons, returning to the hills in the rains. The rest of Kumaon is a maze of mountains, part of the Himalaya
range, some of which are among the loftiest known. In a tract not more than 225 km in length and 65 km in breadth there are over thirty peaks rising to elevations exceeding 5500 m. The rivers like Gori, Dhauli , Kali etc rise chiefly in the southern slope of the Tibetan
watershed north of the loftiest peaks, amongst which they make their way down valleys'of rapid declivity and extraordinary depth. The principal are the Sharda (Kali), the Pindari and Kailganga, whose waters join the Alaknanda. The river Sharda (Kali) forms the international boundary between India and Nepal. The pilgrim route currently used to visit Kailash-Mansarovar, goes along this river and crosses into Tibet at Lipu Lekh pass.
The chief trees are the Chir Pine, Himalayan Cypress, Pindrow Fir, alder, sal or iron-wood, and saindan. Limestone, sandstone, slate, gneiss and granite constitute the principal geological formations. Mines of iron, copper, gypsum, lead and asbestos exist; but they are not thoroughly worked. Except in the submontane strips and deep valleys the climate is mild. The rainfall of the outer Himalayan range, which is first struck by the monsoon, is double that of the central hills, in the average proportion of 2000 mm to 1000 mm. No winter passes without snow on the higher ridges, and in some years it is universal throughout the mountain tract. Frosts, especially in the valleys, are often severe.
Kumaon with headquarters at Nainital. Area 35,136 km²; pop. (1901), 1,207,030, showing an increase of less than 2% in the decade. Kumaon proper constituted an old Rajput
principality, which became extinct at the beginning of the 19th century. For some time region was ruled by Gorkhas. But People of Kumaon fought them valiantly. At that time, India was divided and nobody came to help them. With their courage, wisdom and their ever indomitable spirit, and help from British, they finally defeated the Gorkhas
,who earlier seemed invincible ,and opened the way for the liberation of Garhwal
from the oppressive Gorkha rule.Inspired by their bravery the British granted on the people of Kumaon the title of martial race
. Later, the region was annexed by the British
in 1815, and was governed for seventy years on the non-regulation system by three administrators, Mr. Traill, Mr J. H. Batten and Sir Henry Ramsay. In 1891 the division was composed of the three districts of Kumaon, Garhwal
and the Tarai; but the two districts of Kumaon and the Tarai were subsequently redistributed and renamed after their headquarters, Nainital and Almora.
have been famous for their valour
, their courage
was legendary, their honour
indomitable. Kumaonis had helped the British in their efforts against the Gurkhas in the Nepal War. Kumaonis were observed by the British to be fighting from both sides the British as well as the Gorkha side, their valour was thus given recognition by the British and were included in the British Army. It is interesating to know that the famous 3rd Gorkha regiment
was known as the Keemaon battalion
when it was formed and it included Kumaonis along with the Gorkhas.
They showed their exceptional courage in the Indo-Chinese War, the Battle of Rezang La has been proverbial for valour.
The word "Kumaon" can be traced back to the 5th century BC. The Kassite Assyrians
left their homeland 'Kummah', on the banks of river Euphrates
,and settled in the northern part of India. These inhabitants formed Koliyan tribe and having their new settlement as Kumaoon. Lord Buddha's mother, Mayabati belonged to this clan. Although this theory does not seem true considering the fact the distance between these two places is about 2000 miles and this region was already populated at this time (ruled by Kunindas dynasty).
Another version of the origin is that word Kumaon is believed to have been derived from "Kurmanchal", meaning land of the Kurmavatar (the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver according to Hindu mythology). The region of Kumaon is named after as such.