Monday, September 25, 2023

10 Must Visit Historical Places in Uttarakhand in 2023

Tighten your seatbelts, as Duniakagyan takes you on a whirlwind journey through some of the coveted historical places in Uttarakhand. You will thank us for a vacation like no other.

The awe-inspiring landscapes apart, Uttarakhand has its share of captivating tales, ancient ruins, and architectural wonders that weave an aura of mystique and make history come alive. Ancient temples that echo with the chants of devotion to majestic forts that bear witness to the region’s rich cultural heritage – there’s so much waiting to be discovered, acknowledged, and cherished.

Join us on a tour into the realms of history, as we dive into the historical depths of the state, unveiling its hidden stories and architectural wonders that have stood the test of time. Whether you seek to unravel the mysteries of the past, immerse yourself in ancient traditions, or simply marvel at the grandeur of bygone eras, Uttarakhand’s historical places deserve a visit. Even if you have grown up disliking history, this unforgettable journey into the annals of time will stay with you forever.

Top Historical Places in Uttarakhand

DuniaKaGyan has picked the top 15 such places for your next vacation. Trust us, these sites are good enough to keep you intrigued and clamoring for more. Even if you aren’t a history buff, the awe-striking panorama of these sites will etch into your memory for a lifetime.

1. Top Historical Places in Uttarakhand: Katarmal Sun Temple


Feast your eyes on the intricate architecture of the bygone era at the Katarmal Surya Temple. The carvings and paneling throughout the temple premises are breathtaking, making you wonder how artisans back in the day did that without modern equipment. Guess what? Thanks to the exquisite wall carvings and panels, the shrine was declared a monument of national importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958.

It is one among the select few Surya (Sun) temples. Here, the Sun god is referred to as Burhadita or Vraddhaditya. The idols of Shiva, Parvati, Lakshmi, and Narayana also adorn the premises.


It is located around 1.5 kilometers from Kosi Village and approximately 12 kilometers from Almora, at an elevation of 2116 meters. It is easily accessible from Almora, with a 45-minute ride. The accessibility factor also helps in making the shrine one of the top Uttarakhand historical places.


You can trace the history of this temple to the Katyuri kingdom. It is attributed to the Katyuri king, Katarmal, and hence, the name. Constructed in the 9th century, it is an ambient of 44 small temples around the main shrine that honors the deity, Surya. A key idol in the temple went missing, following which the panels were shifted to the National Museum, New Delhi.

  • Engagement time: 3 to 4 hours to explore the historic site and its environs.
  • Best time to visit: March to June and September to November
  • Alternate Name: Badaditya (Baraditya) Temple

2. Top Historical Places in Uttarakhand: Baijnath Temple


Think of this temple as one of the holiest sites in Uttarakhand. If legend is something to go by, this site hosted the divine wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.


Nestled on the banks of the Gomati River, Baijnath temple falls under the namesake small town in the Kumaon division’s Bageshwar district. Situated 27 kilometers away, it is a roughly 40-minute drive from Bagheshwar town.


It has been one of the most ancient temples in Uttrakhand since 850 AD. Founded by Narsingh Deo, the temple features monuments of National Importance as declared by the Archeological Survey of India. As such, you have a lot of history to discover and cherish here.

It honors SivaVaidyanatha, the divine doctor. Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh, Chandika, Kuber, Surya, and Brahma idols are placed here.

  • Engagement time: 1 to 2 hours to explore the premises and surroundings.
  • Best time to visit: January to May and September to November

3. Top Historical Places in Uttarakhand: Patal Bhuvaneshwar Cave


This cave temple has to be one of the must-visit historical places in Uttarakhand. Call it a complex structure of limestone caves 160 meters long and 90 feet deep from the entrance of the cave. The cave leading to the main shrine is not just a cave but a series of caves interlinked, paving the way to the main shrine. Per popular belief, one end of the cave opens at Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva.


The Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave is the cave temple located 14 kilometers from Gangolihat in the Pithoragarh district.


The cave was first discovered by Raja Ritupurna, the throne of the Surya dynasty, which ruled for a significant period over Ayodhya during the Treta Yuga. The cave temple welcomed its most celebrated visitor, Jagad Guru Adi Shankaracharya in 1190 AD. had to wait till the KalYug to welcome

  • Dedicated to: The temple possesses shrines of Shiva and thirty-three Koti demigods.
  • Engagement time: One full day is ideal to navigate the complex cave structure fully.
  • Best time to visit: April to June and September to November

4. Top Historical Places in Uttarakhand: Pithoragarh Fort

PITHORAGARH FORTAs a history buff, you simply cannot ignore the Pithoragarh Fort. After all, it’s one of the most historical places in India, let alone Uttrakhand. The fort presently is in ruins but the remains reflect the magnificence of its past. The Gorkha architecture is intricate and appealing while the environs are breathtaking. That’s why it is a delight for shutterbugs and architecture enthusiasts.


The fort is firmly perched on a hilltop at an elevation of 1645 meters on the outskirts of the city. You can either take a 15-minute drive or simply cover the entire 15-km trek on foot from Pithoragarh.


The history of the fort is disputed. Some believe that the fort came up in 1789, thanks to a Chand ruler, Peru Alias Prithwi Gussain. On the other hand, some historians credit Gorkhas with building the fort. For them, the fort commemorated the Gorkha’s victory over the Pithoragarh town.

  • Engagement time: 1 to 2 hours to explore the fort and soak in the natural beauty around.
  • Best time to visit: January to June and September to December

5. Top Historical Places in Uttarakhand: Banasur Ka Kila


Banasur ka Kila comes across as one of the most frequented Uttarakhand monuments. Presently, the fort is just a shadow of its glorious past but has history and legends written all over its vast expanses. It reflects the architectural prowess our ancestors had attained back in the day. What adds to the fort’s significance is the fact that it is the site of the origin of the Lohaghat River.


It is nestled on a hillock at a height of 1859 meters above sea level and 7 km away from Lohaghat in the Champawat district. You are required to walk 2 kilometers to get to the fort.


There’s more mythology associated with the fort than actual history. While no one knows when the fort came into being, it is believed to be a medieval structure. The fort honors Banasur, an offspring of the mythological character, King Bali. The 1000-handed demon, Banasur eliminated Anirudh, the lover of his daughter, Usha. In retribution, Lord Krishna, Anirudha’s grandfather, defeated and slew Banasur after an intense battle.

  • Engagement time: 1 to 2 hours to explore the fort and witness the panoramic views of the surrounding peaks.
  • Best time to visit: February to June and September to November
  • Alternate Name: Vanasur Ka Qila

6. Kalsi


Kalsi makes it to our list of historical places in Uttarakhand. Why? Well, it’s a treasure trove of history, offering a peek into ancient India. The place is home to Ashokan inscriptions carved on rocks that depict storylines about Antiochus, Ptolemy, Antigones, Magas, and Alexander. The rock edits of Khali are the most ancient and historically significant.


Kalsi is located in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun district, on the banks of river Yamuna.


The place houses Ashoka’s Rock edicts in the Pali language. Mind you, these are the only edicts linked to Ashoka in North India. That’s why the place is a significant historical tourism site in Uttrakhand.

  • Engagement time: 1 to 2 hours to witness the ancient rock edicts
  • Best time to visit: All year round

Also Check: Best Places to Visit in Dehradun

7. Narendra Nagar

NARENDRA NAGARCrowning a picturesque ridge of the mighty Himalayan ranges, the palace symbolizes the grandeur of an era gone by. Odathila is a place of historical and mythological significance. It has been known to be a seat of spirituality and meditation since ancient times.


‘The Narendranagar Palace’ here now is home to ‘Ananda – In the Himalayas’, a destination spa that looks down into the Doon Valley from its majestic height of 3000 feet.


The present town of Narendranagar came into existence in 1919 when Maharaja Narendra Shah of Tehri Garhwal moved his capital from Tehri to a more picturesque locale. The small town of Odathila nestled in the Shivalik foothills was chosen not only for its extraordinary scenic beauty but also for its proximity to the plains below.

  • Engagement time: 1 to 2 hours to witness the ancient rock edicts
  • Best time to visit: All year round

8. Dwarahat


The “way to heaven,” Dwaraghat is no less beautiful than heaven itself. The serene hamlet in Almora is ambient of 55 temples, making it religiously, historically, and culturally important. These shrines are attributed to the Katyuri dynasty and the architecture bears a profound influence of the Gurjari School of Art. That makes them a godsend for architecture enthusiasts.

The most revered of them all is the Dunagiri shrine, nestled on the outskirts of the hamlet, 20 km away. Dedicated to goddess Dunagiri, a manifestation of Durga, the temple comes alive during Navratris when nine different forms of Shakti are celebrated on nine different days. The Bandev Temple, Kachiv Temple, Badrinath, and Lakhanpur are other visit-worthy temples here.

Know more: Here


The Dwarahat is located at an elevation of 1510 meters in Almora, where the Ramganga and Saryu rivers merge.


The archaeological digs revealed coins that indicate Kunindas to be the first settlers here. Their dominance was broken when the area was annexed by the Guptas who ushered in the Golden Age of ancient India. Later, Dwarahat was under Bacheri, Manigan, and Mrityunjaya dynasties at different points in time.

The merger of the Ramganga and Saryu rivers irked river Kosi. The latter connived to separate them but failed. This attracted the ire of the two rivers who cursed Kosi to stay without any tributary.

  • Engagement time: 2 to 3 days to explore it fully
  • Things to do: Plenary indulgence, Village tourism, Trekking, Nature walks, Shopping, and more
  • Best time to visit: January to June and September to December
  • Festivals celebrated: Navratri, Makar Sankranti, Olgia, Basant Panchami
  • Nearest Airport: Pantnagar Aerodrome (144 km)
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kathgodam (110 km)
  • Alternate Name: Sanskritik Nagari (Cultural City)

9. Lohaghat


Welcome to Lohaghat, one of the historical places in Uttrakhand. Nestled in the Champawat district, the town derives its name from the very river that flows through it, the River Lohawati. The picturesque and quaint town offers some of the most delightful views of the Garhwal hills blanketed in pristine snow. The lofty deodars just accentuate the overall charm of the town. The tranquility is simply irresistible, making it an ideal destination to escape the hustle of cities and embrace peace.

Lohaghat has an array of trails that take you to the wilderness, directly into the lap of Mother Nature. Feel free to set up your camp under the starry sky amidst soul-soothing greenery. Of late, it is attracting a deluge of adrenaline junkies keen on indulging in water sports. The town has its share of religious places as well, notably the Pancheshwar Mahadev Temple, 37 km away. The drive to the town is an experience in itself, treating you to some stunning vistas all through.


The town has an impressive elevation of 1754 meters from sea level. You need to travel around 62 kilometers from Pithoragarh to be in Lohaghat. It’s a wonderful two-hour drive.


The history and culture run deep in Lohaghat. Erstwhile Sui, the town is attributed to the Katyuri rulers in the 8th century. It remained the political and cultural capital of the Katyuris until the 10th century when Som Chand of the Kumaon kingdom conquered it. In 1790, the rampaging Gurkhas seized control of the town but lost it to the British in 1814. Mesmerized by the natural splendor, several Englishmen settled here and introduced tea and fruit cultivation.

  • Engagement time: 2 to 3 days to explore it fully
  • Things to do: Pilgrimage, Village tourism, Trekking, Nature Walks, and Camping
  • Best time to visit: February to June and September to December
  • Festivals celebrated: Bgwal fight carnival
  • Nearest Airport: Pantnagar Aerodrome (160 km)
  • Nearest Railway Station: Tanakpur (60 km)

10. Bageshwar

BAGESHWARBageshwar, the city, is of great religious, historical, and political significance. It finds mention in various Puranas, where it has been associated with Lord Shiva. The Uttarayani fair held annually in Bageshwar used to be visited by approximately 15,000 people in the early twentieth century and was the largest fair of the Kumaon division. The fair became the epicenter of the Coolie Begar Movement in January 1921. The city of Bageshwar gets its name from the Bagnath Temple. Hindi and Sanskrit are the official languages; however, Kumaoni is spoken by many people.


11. Nanda Devi Temple, Almora

Nanda Devi Temple, AlmoraNo list of historical places in Uttarakhand is complete without the mention of Nanda Devi temple, Almora. The ancient temple, nestled in the heart of Almora city, celebrates the patron deity of the region, Nanda Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. For the local folks of the Kumaon region, she is the ultimate “Destroyer of Evil” and savior. They rever her, love her but also fear her wrath.

Built in Himadri style, Nanda Devi Temple might not flaunt massive premises but it is beautiful nonetheless. The presiding deity sits pretty inside the antechamber of a Shiva temple in the form of an immaculately crafted monument. The temple walls bear stunning carvings that depict popular Hindu mythologies in great clarity and detail. Every September, the place hosts the famed Nanda Devi Mela, a 5-day-long exhibition of local culture and traditions. It’s a must-visit for every culturist.


Nanda Devi Temple has an idyllic location, amidst the tranquil vistas of the Garhwal and Kumaon hills in Almora. Sitting pretty at an elevation of 1,642 meters, it is just a 10-minute walk from the Almora Main Market.

  • District: Almora
  • Travel Time: 10 minutes (from Almora main market)
  • Address: Unnamed Road, Dharanaula, Almora
  • Coordinates: 30°22′33″N 79°58′15″E


The temple may look ordinary at face value but it carries a lot of religious and historical importance. From Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, and Gurudev Ravindra Nath Tagore to Vijay Laxmi Pandit, and J.C. Bose, some of the leading names in modern history have paid a visit to this temple. No one knows exactly how old the temple is, but historians trace its history back to 1000 years. The construction was commissioned by the Chand rulers as a mark of respect for their patron deity.

Legend has it that a Rohilla Prince chased Princess Nanda, who rejected his marriage proposal, into the hills where she merged with a 25,643-foot-tall peak. Princess Nanda’s sister, Sunanda did the same, as the Sunanda Hill standing next to Nanda Hill suggests. another folklore tells us that Hanumana, on his mission to get Sanjeevani herb, uprooted the mountain and flew away without Nanda Devi’s permission. Infuriated, Nanda Devi prohibited the locals from chanting Hanuman’s name.

  • Engagement Time: 2 to 3 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: February to June and September to December
  • Festivals Celebrated: Nanda Devi Mela
  • Nearest Airport: Pantnagar Aerodrome (127 km)
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kathgodam (90 km)

12. Bhimtal (Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple)


Image source: Wikipedia

Welcome to Bhimtal, a lake city loaded with nature, serenity, and of course history and fables. The sleepy town is gaining traction as an off-beat tourist destination, thanks to its nearness to Nainital, one of Uttarakhand’s top hill stations. Besides the glistening, picturesque lake, the main attraction here is the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple. A few hours in Bhimtal’s historical and religious vibes and raw beauty can take you on a journey into the bygone era.


Situated just 22 km away from Nainital, the quaint town boasts an elevation of 1,370 m (4,490 ft). The road connectivity is good and the town is accessible virtually all year round via Nainital.

  • District: Nainital
  • Coordinates: 29.3461° N, 79.5519° E


If the local legend is something to go by, Bhima of Mahabharata ventured into the region during the exile period. To be remembered forever, Akashvani (message from heaven) instructed him to build a Shiva temple here. Bhima not only complied and erected the temple but also struck the mountain with his mace. That forced Ganga to descend into the hole below and give birth to Bhimtal Lake. No prizes for guessing why both, the temple and the lake, feature Bhim in their respective names.

Legends apart, Bhimtal has a history strong enough to be included among the top historical places in Uttarakhand. The place was part of an ancient trade route where travelers stopped on their way to Kathgodam, other parts of the Kumaon region, and even Nepal and Tibet. When it comes to the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple, it was renovated and brought to its present shape in the 17th century, by a Chand ruler, Baz Bahadur (1638–78 AD) who ruled the Kumaon region.

  • Engagement Time: 4 to 5 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: All year round
  • Nearest Airport: Pantnagar Aerodrome (58 km)
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kathgodam (30 km)

13. Baleshwar Temple

Baleshwar TempleEvery inch of Baleshwar Temple oozes history and artistic expression at its magnificent best. Just venture into its premises, and an architectural wonder awaits, ready to spellbind you with intricate carvings and awe-inspiring craftsmanship. The premises consist of several structures. most of which might not be in their best shape but still stand to tell a tale of devotion and past grandeur. No temple in Uttarakhand resembles Baleshwar’s architecture, which is South Indian in nature.

Baleshwar is another name for Lord Shiva. So, you can well imagine the presiding deity of the temple. Besides the main temple, the premises have two other shrines, one housing Champawati Durga and the other, Ratneshwar. Just a stone’s throw is a spring pond, “Naula,” which offers pure, great-tasting water all year round. The premises serve as a host to an annual fair on the auspicious day of Mahashivratri.


You can find Baleshwar Temple in the heart of Champawat town at an altitude of 1610 meters above sea level. Feel free to reach the location via tourist buses and shared taxis playing between Champavat and Kathgodam, and Champavat and Bhowali.

  • District: Champawat
  • Coordinates: 29.3366°N 80.0904°E


With a history dating back to the 13th century, Baleshwar Temple just walks into any list of the historical places in Uttarakhand. The temple was a brainchild of Garud Gyan Chand while his successor, Uday Chand, undertook the renovation work somewhere around 1420. However, it was only under his successor, Hari Chand that the facelift was completed. Thanks to its unique architecture and magnificence, the temple is designated as a National Heritage Monument with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) responsible for its upkeep.

  • Engagement Time: 1 to 2 hours
  • Timings: 9 AM to 11.30 AM and 5 PM to 8.30 PM.
  • Best Time to Visit: February to November
  • Nearest Airport: Pantnagar Aerodrome (128 km)
  • Nearest Railway Station: Tanakpur (75 km)


Uttarakhand and history go hand in hand. The tiny state is replete with towns, shrines, and landmarks that have withstood the test of time to give us a sneak peek into a glorious past. Even if you aren’t into history, these historical places in Uttarakhand might keep you awe-struck with their beauty. So, that was our take on the top historical places in Uttarakhand. We hope you found it useful and inspiring.

So, it’s time to pack your bags and head straight to Uttarakhand. Don’t forget to tell us about your vacation in the comment section below. Also, feel free to suggest topics that you wish us to cover.

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Rohit Kumar
Rohit Kumar
Passionate about content quality and attention to detail, Rohit has penned over 15,000 copies for some of the leading online and offline publications in his eight-year career. Currently heading the content team at Dunia Ka Gyan, he believes in team spirit, ingenuity, and reader satisfaction.

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