A diary on Dharchula – Tale of two towns separated by international borders but united by culture & tradition!!!
Dharchula is a small town situated in the Pithoragarh district of the state of Uttarakhand at an elevation of 915 meters above sea level surrounded by hills on all sides and offers breathtaking views of the grand Himalayan peaks. The hill station gets its name from ‘Dhar’ and ‘Chula’; Dhar means peak and chula means stove in Hindi. The name was given to Dharchula as it resembles a stove. It is close to the Nepal and China borders. Dharchula was an ancient trading town for the trans-Himalayan trading routes between Nepal, China and India.
The most amazing fact about Dharchula is that it also has a Nepalese counterpart to it named Darchula. Both these towns are connected to each other by a foot over bridge built over the Kali River. The two towns have common tradition. Culture and lifestyle of the people living across both regions are quite similar. There are only few places in the world where one can cross international boundaries on foot and Dharchula is amongst them. Here, one can easily cross over to other town without any requirement of travel documents i.e. Passport and visa but there is a custom check-point for larger goods. The town of Dharchula is also an important stopover for pilgrims who go for the Kailash Mansarovar yatra and a base for many hikes and treks that begin and surround the valley close by.
The most common tribe that is found in Dharchula is known as the Rung tribe. The most commonly spoken languages here are Kumaoni and Dotiyali. However, most people here understand and speak Hindi. There are no such major tourist attractions in Dharchula, hence tourism is almost nil in this region. Some of the main attractions in the place are Narayan Ashram, Manosarovar Lake, Chikrila Dam, Kali River and Om Parvat.
Here I go…
Just casually I along with my parents went off for an unplanned trip to this unknown destination Dharchula, 550 KM away from Delhi. We set out our journey with a day’s halt at Tanakpur and thereafter Dharchula. It was supposed to be a long and tough journey through terrains of Himalayas but the mesmerizing beauty all along the way made the journey effortless. After crossing Pithoragarh, the hilly route mostly roams along with the bank of Kali River which acts as a natural international boundary between India and Nepal. The overwhelming thought of two countries of similar topography separated by one river crept into my mind.
The most remarkable part of our journey was the sight of “Om Parvat” en-route Dharchula. “Om (Aum)” is a spiritual symbol that refers to soul, ultimate reality, entirety of universe, truth, divine, supreme, & knowledge. Om is the most important symbol in Hinduism. The peak of the slow clad mountain shows the “Om” symbol that can be seen from far distance. The whole place was full of positive energy and purity. Finally we reached our destination after a long and thought provoking journey. The weather was pleasant with a very clean environment.
After a sound sleep, I woke up to enjoy the beautiful surroundings that were on offer. A beautiful morning filled with refreshing air, clear blue sky, and sunlight with amazing view of snow-capped mountains, oak trees, deodar trees, and Kali River. Sometimes offbeat destinations won’t match your expectations but you need to capture the most out of it which remains in your heart till eternity. Dharchula does not have many tourist attractions but it has its own charm, unparalleled beauty, and a tale. I must confess that it has given a different insight in my life.