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KUMAON

THE LAND OF MIGHTY WARRlORS

altPANCHCHULI GLACIER

Panchchuli Glacier is a Himalayan Glacier in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. It is located in the easternmost part of Kumaon, bordering Tibet and Nepal. It is in the west and east of five peaks of Panchchuli on the Johar Valley and Dharma valley.

KUMAON HISTORY: 

CHAND ROYALTY OF KUMAON 

Creating modern Kumaon is credited to the "Chand Royalty" of "Pithoragarh". The magnificent temple complex of Jageshwar dedicated to Lord Shiva, with its cluster of a hundred and sixty-four temples, was built by the "Chand Rulers" over a span of two centuries.

The "Chand Kings" is from the Rajput ruling clan of Raghuvanshi ancestry, referred to as "Raja" for men and 'Thourani" for women. 

Many temples built by "Chand Rulers", during the 11th and 12th century in India and Nepal still exist today, this include the Baleshwar, Nagnath, Bhimeshwara Mahadev, Golu Devta, Bagnath, Tripura Sundari and the Nanda Devi Temple in Almora (Which dates back to be 1000 years and dedicated to goddess Nanda Devi, the patron goddess of "Chand Royalty", Goddess Nanda Devi is considered to be the "Destroyer of Evil" and the savior of "Kumaon Kingdom").

The "Chand Royalty" is also the one and only "Hindu Royalty" which is credited for attacking and conquering "Tibet" thereby, giving free and uninterrupted access to Hindus for visiting one of the holiest site, "Kailash Mansarovar". The taxes collected from Tibetans was called "SIRTI" "सिरती" (Tibet originally part of "Kumaon Kingdom" but, the  current status of "Tibet" is "COT""China Occupied Tibet").

Due to harsh living condition in the hills, today, most people from "Chand Community" have left Pithoragarh / Baitadi for the safe and luxurious environment of Bhabhar / Mahendra Nagar and other cities of India and Nepal, very few are still holding on to the traditions in hilly areas (People living in the plains are referred to as, Deshis).

KUMAON REGION

The Kumaon region consists of a large Himalayan tract + Terai and Bhabhar of plains. Till 1850 the Terai and Bhabhar regions were almost impenetrable forests left to wild animals but, after 1850 the numerous clearings attracted a large population from the hills. The rest of Kumaon is a maze of mountains (225 km in length and 65 km in breadth) rising to an elevation exceeding 5500 meters.

The word Kumaon is derived from the word "Kurmanchal" meaning land of the "Kurm" avatar (The tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, preserver of the Hindu Trinity). According to the Hindu Mythology, Adi Kailash (also known as Chota Kailash) in the Kumaon region is one of the three residences of Lord Kailash (Shiva), Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesh, and Lord Kartikey.

The paintings discovered at the rock shelter at Lake Udyar points towards the existence of the Mesolithic period (middle stone age) settlements in the region.

It is believed that "Kols" were the original inhabitants of Kumaon. They were the people with Astro-Asiatic physical type.

The Kumaon region has always been important to the "Hindus" because it contains the traditional wellspring of the sacred Ganges and the Jamuna rivers and is the burial grounds of "Pandavas", the five great heroes of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. Consequently, Kumaon contains numerous ancient temples and for centuries, has been a frequent travel destination for Hindu pilgrims.

Kumaon, the northernmost region of UK, shines under the Himalayan sun + snow and gushes with water shared by "India" and "Nepal". The bond between Kumaon, Nepal, and Tibet runs thousands of years old and has only in modern times been obscured by a man-made border.

Nepalese and Tibetan people dwelling in mountain villages came down to the warmer and more inhabited Kumaon, made the Himalayan range seem less of a geographical barrier and more home to transnational cultures and incredible religious tolerance.

It is in this region that "Rajula - Malushahi", an epic ballad about the story between two forbidden lovers, was written. In short, "Malushahi", a prince from the region in Kumaon, fell in love with "Rajula", the daughter of a wealthy Shauka couple who often migrated following trade routes. In some versions, it is said that "Rajula" and "Malushahi" loved each other against their parent's wishes; in others, it is said that their parents had them betrothed in childhood, but Rajula’s parents later changed their mind. In either case, "Rajula" is married to a wealthy Tibetan (Huniya, as he is called in the ballad) but she soon escapes her husband’s house to meet with "Malushahi". Her words to him are simple: come to the Huniya’s place so you can bring me back, like a real man. and, despite many obstacles and with the help of many magical friends, that is exactly what he does.

Sung like a ballad, "Rajula - Malushahi" is more of an epic laced together with beautiful prose and verses about the beauty and cultural mosaic that makes the region unique. It sets the tone for the exciting times during which it was written. (What "Laila - Majnu", "Heer - Raanjha" and "Sohni - Mahiwal" is for the rest of India (All three met with a tragic end) so, in the same way, "Rajula - Malushahi" (which had a happy ending) is for "Kumaon Kingdom").

Though the geographical isolation that the Himalayas brought about could have very easily caused distinction between ethnic and cultural groups and raised barriers to cultural diffusion, the economic and social conditions led to greater tolerance of intermarriage. Parents blessed marriages of couples whose origins were often hundreds of kilometers apart, where arranged marriages are usually the norm.

In short, intermarriage and cultural diffusion fueled each other across the Indo-Nepalese and Tibetan border. Hindus in Kumaon are less preoccupied with the caste system (though there is still discrimination that exists as a result of this hierarchy.)

Culture once flowed freely between these three nations as the water does from their glaciers. 

Marriage rituals between Kumaonis + Nepalis and Tibetans are still held and wholeheartedly accepted/supported in the Kumaon Kingdom thus, this holds together ancient ties between families and different cultural and ethnic groups. (People from the same "Raath" are not supposed to marry among themselves)Immigration between Nepal and India has extremely lax regulations

Many Kumaonis still venerate the ancient ties with Nepal + Tibet and visit Nepal for their Pujas, due to COT (Chinese Occupation Of Tibet) free passage of Kumaonis in to Tibet has been stopped (It merits to mention that, there is a boundary in place between Kumaon, Nepal, and Tibet but, still people of the region think themselves as one.

People from the Kumaon Kingdom are assiduous. They will carry loads, do physical activities but, never seek alms.

(कुमाऊनी आदिम बोजो बोकोलो। मेहनत को काम करलो, भोक्को रलो लेकिन, भिक कभईले ना मगलो) 

KUMAONI LANGUAGE

Kumaoni language is on the verge of extinction, the new generation has stopped speaking it completely as they feel more comfortable while communicating in Hindi / Nepali and or Chinese (This happens when you ignore your own culture and heritage). UNESCO has already designated Kumaoni language in the unsafe category.

                        कुमाऊनी (अफनी भाषा को घमंड छ, कां ले रूं हम अफनी भाषा माई ही बोल्ला )

The language of Deshis in plains of India and Nepal and the language of "Kumaon Kingdom" is different, our language is rough, sharp, hard hitting and not so sophisticated, that is far different from what is spoken elsewhere (I have tried to gather some words and the meaning of the same + how is it spoken in the hills of "Kumaon Kingdom")

Head –"Khoro/Mundo""खोरो/मुंडो"----Legs –"Khutta""खुट्टा"---- Stomach –"Laado""लादो"----Nail – "Nang""नंग"  

Fingers – "Aangula"  "आंगुला"  ---- Thigh – "Chadwa" "चड़वा"  ----  Knee – "Ghuno"  "घुणो"---- Hair – “Raun” “रौँ”

Chin – "Cheuno" "चिउणो" ------ Lips – "Thol" "थोल" ------- Nasal Mucus/Nasal discharge – "Shikaan"  "शिकान" 

Clothes – "Khatada" "खातडा"---Cloth covering a dead body - "Kaattaro" "काततरो"---Forehead – “Chaani” “चानी”

Bum – "Pootho""पूठो"---Moustache – "Joonga""जूंगा"---Funeral – "Malaami" "मलामी"---Navel – “Nauto” “नॉटो”

Headache – "Khormudai" "खोरमुंडै"/ "Munda Chadk"  "मुंडा चड़क" -------------------------  Heat - "Ghaam" "घाम"

Back – "Pachila"  "पछिल" ------ Front – "Aghila" "अघिल"  ------  Hot – "Taato" "तातो" ------ Neck – “Galo” “गलो” 

Child – "Nandino" "नन्दिनो" / "Nandini" "नन्दिनि"  --- Children – "Nandinaa" "नन्दिना"--- Shorts - "Jangia""जंगिया"

Son – "Chelo" "चेलो"  ------ Daughter – "Cheli" "चेली"------Armpit – “Kokhi” “कोखी” ------Lap – “Kaakhi” “काखी” 

Mothers milk drinking toddler / child – "Matari Ko Chucho Khania Nandino"  "मतारी को चुचो खान्या नन्दिनो"  

I am Going – "Mui Jhaan Mario"  "मुई झान मरयो"  ----------------  I am Coming – "Mui Uun Mario"  "मुई उन मरयो"

Utensils – "Bhana" "भाणा"-------------  Utensil -  "Bhano" "भाणो" ---------------  Chilli – "Khurshiani" "खुरश्यानि"

Tongue–"Jhibado""जीबड़ो"--Marijuana–"Bhaango""भांगो"---Hash–"Aattar""आत्तर"--Trouser-"Suruwal""सूरवाल"

Stairs – "Khurkhutti" "खुरखुट्टी" ----------------- Chakki – "Ghatt" "घट्ट"---------------- Terrace – "Paakho" "पाखो" 

Daughter in Law – "Bourani" "बौरानी"------------- Jethi – "Raajan" "राजन"--------------Devar – "Gusain" "गुसांईं"

Devrani – "Bhawwa' "भव्वा"--------------- Fathers Sister – "Pujue" "पूजू"--------------------Mother – "Iija" "इजा" 

Father – "Baajue" "बाजू' ------------ Taoji – "Jetha Baajue" "जेठा बाजु"-----------  Grandmother – "Aama" "आमा" 

Grandfather - "Bubu""बुबु"----Husband of Fathers sister – "Pusia" "पूसै"----Rheum /Eye Dirt – “Gijula” ”गिजुला”

The words are used in Kumaon Kingdom, of India and Nepal (i.e for Daughter in Law others say "Buari" but some say "Bourani")

MIGRATION

Villages bordering Tibet, in India + Nepal and even some villages in the hinterland have seen major migration due to lack of development activities and or facilities, by the governments and very fewer opportunities for them. There is a very high possibility of Chinese occupying the deserted villages near Tibet and settling their own citizens, to grab Indian and Nepali land.

                                                  

TRADITIONS OF KUMAON KINGDOM

Pichora

"Pichora""पिछोड़ा / पीछोड़ो" is the most important attire for married women in the "Kumaon Kingdom", it is traditionally handmade and dyed with vegetable colors. There are only two colors used in a "Pichora""पिछोड़ा / पीछोड़ो", Red and Saffron (They are considered as auspicious colors in Hindu culture). Although the "Pichora""पिछोड़ा / पीछोड़ो" is rather a humble piece of garment, yet the appearance of the garment resonates celebration. The "Pichora""पिछोड़ा / पीछोड़ो" is draped over the sari and has a saffron base that is embellished with red polka dots that are concentrated near the "Swastika" which is artistically made by using traditional motifs like the moon, bells, sun and conch shells. The borders of the "Pichora""पिछोड़ा / पीछोड़ो" are adorned with paisley or floral patterns. The "Pichora""पिछोड़ा / पीछोड़ो" is not only symbolic for a bride, but it is also customary for a married woman to wear it during social and religious festivals.

                                                              

Headgear for men

The traditional headgear, worn by men from "Kumaon Kingdom" is Black in color.

                                                                                                          

FESTIVALS OF KUMAON KINGDOM:

After harvesting season people mostly relax, rejoice, dance and sing thus a festival is generated. At the transition of the sun from one constellation to another Sankranti is observed. Each Sankranti has a fair or festival connected to it. Fooldeyi, Bikhauti, Harela, Ghee Sankranti, Khatarua, Uttaraini are the most observed Sankrantis throughout the region. Other festivals have the bearings in the moon and the dates changed frequently in Gregorian Calendar. Basant Panchami, Shiv Ratri, Holi, Samvatsar Parwa, Ram Navami, Dashra, Batsavitri, Rakshabandhan, Janmashtami, Nandastmi, Deepawali, etc. are some of the auspicious occasions.

Kumaoni Holi:

The culmination of joy and happiness is reflected during  Holi which is celebrated with great gaiety for one week. People singing and dancing all around on the tune of Dholak and Majeera is a common sight. The uniqueness of the Kumaoni Holi lies in its being a musical affair, whichever may be its form, be it the Baithki Holi, the Khari Holi or the Mahila Holi. The Baithki Holi and Khari Holi are unique in that the songs on which they are based have a touch of melody, fun, and spiritualism. These songs are essentially based on classical ragas. No wonder then the Baithki Holi is also known as "Nirvan Ki Holi".

The Baithki Holi begins from the premises of temples, where Holiyars (the professional singers of Holi songs) as also the people gather to sing songs to the accompaniment of classical music. Kumaoni's are very particular about the time when the songs based on ragas should be sung. For instance, at noon the songs based on Peelu, Bhimpalasi, and Sarang ragas are sung while the evening is reserved for the songs based on the ragas like Kalyan, Shyamkalyan, and Yaman, etc. The Khari Holi is mostly celebrated in the rural areas of Kumaon. The songs of the Khari Holi are sung by the people, who sporting traditional white churidar pajama and kurta, dance in groups to the tune of ethnic musical instruments.

                                                

Harialo: 

On the first day of the Navaratri (nine-day holy period) of the month of Chaitra, women fill baskets with soil and sow seven types of grains in them. The grains germinate symbolizing the future harvest. These yellow leaves, called "Harialo""हरियालो", are cut on the tenth day and people put them on their heads and behind their ears. "Harialo""हरियालो" is celebrated in the month of Shravan. People put the blades of freshly cut "Harialo""हरियालो" on their heads and send them to their relatives and friends as well.

                                                                 

Bhitaulo::

During the month of Chaitra (March-April) brothers send presents to their sisters and parents to their daughters. These presents are called "Bhitaulo" "भिटौलो" . Relatives and friends visit each other with the "Bhitaulo" "भिटौलो" and a feast are prepared out of the "Bhitaulo""भिटौलो". It is merry-making time for everyone during "Bhitaulo""भिटौलो". ("Laun" and "Sel" are prepared with the "Bhitaulo""भिटौलो"). The full month of Chaitra is a Bhitaulo month.

                                                                           

Goira:

"Goira" "गोईरा" is celebrated to commemorate the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati and to welcome the rainy season and the new harvest. On this day people make Dikaras or clay statues of Gauri, Maheshwar, Ganesh, etc. and worship them. Even the overworked bullocks "बल्द" are given a rest on the occasion of "Goira" "गोईरा"

                                                                    

Bat Savitri:

This festival is celebrated on the Krishna Amavasya (last day of the dark half of the month) of Jyestha and on the day married women worship Savitri and the banyan tree and pray for the well being of their spouses. Women observe fast in honor of Savitri and Satyavan and remember how Savitri through her intense devotion saved her husband from the claws of death.

                                                                  

Janeupunyu:

The people of Kumaon celebrate Raksha Bandhan and Janeupunyu, the day on which people change their janeu (sacred thread). On this day the famous Bagwal fair is held at Devidhura in district Champawat.

Ganga Dusshera or DasarGanga Dusshera is celebrated on the Shukla Dashami of the Jyestha (May - June). The sacred Ganga is worshipped on this day and Dusshera posters (Dwarpatras or Dasars), which have various geometric designs on them, are put up on the doors of houses and temples. These posters, once handwritten by brahmins, are now printed. On this day people bathe in the holy rivers.

                                                                   

Basant Panchami:

The festival of Basant Panchami celebrates the coming of the spring season. This festival, which also signals the end of winter, is generally celebrated during Magh (January - February). During this festival, people worship the Goddess Saraswati, use yellow handkerchiefs or even yellow cloths and in a few places people put a yellow tilak on their foreheads. This festival also marks the beginning of Holi Baithaks.

                                                                     

Ghugutia/Uttrayani:

According to the Hindu religious texts, on the day of Uttarayani, the Sun enters the Zodiacal sign of 'Makar' (Capricorn) from the Zodiacal sign of the Kark (Cancer), i.e. from this day onwards the sun becomes 'Uttarayan' or it starts moving to the north. It is said that from this day, which signals a change of season, the migratory birds start returning to the hills. On Makar Sankranti people give Khichadi (a mixture of pulses and rice) in charity, take ceremonial dips in holy rivers, participate in the Uttarayani fairs and celebrate the festival of Ghughutia or Kale Kauwa. During the festival of Kale Kauwa (literal translation 'black crow') people make sweetmeats out of sweetened flour (flour and Jaggery) deep fried in ghee, shape them like drums, pomegranates, knives, swords, etc. They are strung together and worn as a necklace in the middle of which an orange in fixed. Early in the morning children wear these necklaces and sing "Kale Kauwa.." to attract crows and other birds and offer them portions of these necklaces, as a token of welcome for all the migratory birds, who are now coming back after their winter sojourn in the plains.

Wearing garlands of the above eatables the children come out calling the crows with the following song on their lips:

Kale Kauwa Kale, bhol bathe aile

bor puwa Khale

Le Kauwa bara, mui la de sunu ko gharo

Le Kauwa dhal, mui la de sunu ko thai.

(come dear crow, come daily, you will enjoy eating bara and puwa, take the bara and give me a pitcher full of gold Take the shield and give me a golden plate).

                                                                                              

Khatarua:

Khatarua is essentially the special festival of pastoral- agricultural society and celebrated on the first day of the month of Ashwin in mid-September, and signifies the beginning of the autumn. On this day people light bonfires, around which children dance, holding aloft colorful flags. People take special care of their animals and feed them fresh grass. Cucumbers are offered to the fire of Khatarua, which is said to destroy all evil influences.

The victory of the "Chand King of Kumaon" over Garhwalis is also said to be one of the reasons for the celebration of Khatarua. It is said that Kumauni soldiers carrying banners depicting a cow vanquished the enemy and bonfires were lit to declare the victory.

                                                                     

Phool Dei:

Phool Dei is celebrated on the first day of the month of Chaitra in mid-March. On this day, young girls conduct most of the ceremonies. In some places, this festival is celebrated throughout the month with the advent of spring. During this festival young girls go to all the houses in the village with plates full of rice, jaggery, coconut, green leaves, and flowers. They offer their good wishes for the prosperity of the household and are given blessings and presents (sweets, jaggery, money, etc.) in return.

                                

Hilljatra:

The Hilljatra, which is celebrated in some parts of Pithoragarh district, is essentially the festival of pastoralists and agriculturalists. In the developmental process, the aathon (eighth day of bhado) and Gawra Visarjan also became the part of Hilljatra. The festival, which basically came to the Sor valley from the Sorad (Mahakali) region of West Nepal, was first introduced in Kumaon villages. The Jatra was also accepted by the people of Bajethi, another village near Pithoragarh town and with some modifications, it was introduced in Kanalichhina and Askot regions as Hiran Chital.

The Hilljatra is related to Ropai (the plantation of paddy) and other agricultural and pastoral labors of the rainy season (Hill = mud, Jatra = Jaat). It has also been connected with the victory of the "Chand Rulers". There is another story that Kuru, the representative of a Chand King, who went to Sorad (Nepal) to participate in the Hilljatra, was able to sacrifice a buffalo with horns covering the neck. The people became happy and wanted to present Kuru as a gift.

Kuru thought of introducing this festival in Sor valley and asked for four masks, Lakhiabhoot, Halwaha, two bullocks, and one implement – the Nepali plough. In this way, the Hilljatra was introduced in Sor.

In the first part of Jatra, worship and the ritual sacrifice of goats is performed, and in the second part, different pastoral and agricultural activities are presented in a dramatic way. The masks are very expressive and this is the most entertaining part of the festival.

In the third and last part, the songs are recited with the performance of circle dance (Chanchari). It continues late into the night. The songs are traditional as well as new and popular. The Hilljatra is a living tradition and all care should be taken to preserve its style in a rapidly changing society.

                                                           

Kandali:

Kandali festival is celebrated by the Rung tribe in the Chaundans valley of Pithoragarh district in the Kumaon division. This Kumaoni festival marks the flowering of the flower Kandali which blooms only once in 12 years.

It is a week-long festival in which the people of the valley worship the idol of Lord Shiva made from barley and buckwheat and pray for victories over their enemies. This is followed by puja, a ceremonial feast and then the raising of the flag. Victorious cries are uttered, and the scene of resistance is also recreated. The locals even proceed to attack the shrub of Kandali. Local liquor is also an integral part of this festival. Festivities and celebrations take place all night.

                                                            

"Other Indian festivals like  Dussera or Bijaydashmi, Diwali, etc. also celebrated by Kumaoni people with joy and Gaiety."

Khel / Deuda / Jhoda Chanchari:

“Khel”/”Deuda” is a Kumaoni genre of song and dance. “Khel” is presented in the entire “Kumaon Kingdom” on the occasion of various festivals. “Khel songs” are very popular in Kumaon. It is performed by a group of males and females. It is performed during most of the feasts and festivals. It is generally performed without any musical instrument (A small Dholki can also be used) and both males and females join their hands and legs and move around by singing a song. It is the form of Folk songs in Kumaon. It is rightly said that “Khel does not need any particular occasion for celebration” but “Every celebratory occasion needs a Khel”. No occasion is complete without a Khel in the Kumaon Kingdom. "सिलगड़ी का पल्ला चाल, बिन खेलुना गाड़ा, मेरी हीरू नेगे रंगीला भाभर"

                                                              

FOOD OF KUMAON KINGDOM:

Where else in the world would you find food fit for the Gods but in “Dev Bhoomi” the land of “Devis’ and Devtaas”, where purity, myth, magic, craft, forests, lakes with the power of the divine and folktales surrounding lands and the Pahari people reside inquietude of nature. We know it as Kumaon nestled in the northern foot of the mighty Himalayan ranges that spread their wings from Nanda Devi to Panchachuli shielding it from the winds of afar.

Amidst these rocks and forests that spread across 65% of the state of what is now call UK, there are millions of species of herbs “jari-booti”, edible roots, wild berries, green leaves, legumes that most people would fail to even recognize with the naked eye.

The culture of Kumaon is very nature-driven, simple people with basic wants, and as the saying goes you are what you eat — the food is even more basic but full of nutrition, the purity that people in the cities crave for in packaged organic produce. Kumaon food is nothing but “Food for the Soul”.

And this "Food for the Soul" is best had in people’s homes rather than in restaurants.

The best appetizer ever invented is the "Chookh" चूख (a word used in Pithoragarh and Sudur Paschim) made from the juiciest citrus produce of the hills — the big bright yellow lemons. Light flavor, a sweet tinge — almost tastes like sweet lime. On a chilly winter day when one is sunning in the outdoors, women of the household gather outdoors to eat "Chookh" चूख- rich in vitamin C and warm for the body, its a concoction of peeled lemon chunks, jaggery, a paste of marijuana seeds, mint and green chilies. All you have to do is slurp it in as the sweetness of jaggery balances the tangy lemon chunks in the mouth. It is delicious. (Warning - You have to slurp it and not Chew)

                                                                         

Kaaphal::

The state fruit of "Kumaon Kingdom". The story about "Kaaphal" "काफल" is about a mom, who picks up a basketful of "Kaaphal" to sell.  She asks her daughter to look after the "Kaaphal" basket and not to eat any fruit.  When mom returns, she realizes the "Kaaphal' has lost some weight.  Suspecting her daughter must have eaten some, mom punishes her by beating.  The daughter kept on crying that she didn't taste any "Kaaphal".  It rains and "Kaaphal" gains back some weight that they had lost due to scorching summer heat.  Unfortunately, the girl dies, and now she comes back every year in the "Kaaphal" season as a bird to sing "Kaaphal Pakyo, Muile Na Chakkyo" "काफल पाक्यो मुइले ना चाखयो" or Kaafal has ripened, but I didn't taste them. (Sprinkling "Kaaphal" with salt and Chilli powder tastes better)   

                                                                                         

The use of Bhango — marijuana seeds, especially in chutneys, is a rare experience to savor.

                                                                

The ghee in the hills of Kumaon is absolutely yellow in color as compared to the ghee available in the plains. The yellower the ghee, the more its authenticity of purity.

                                                                   

The Kumaoni cucumber (Kakado, काकड़ो) is 10 times the size of a regular one. Its crisp, juicy and big seeded. The riper is better for Raito.

                                                                

The Kumaonis share a pan Indian fetish for sweetmeats, and still, by nature of their origins, they are slim and trim in their physique. The sticky brown fudge coated with sugar balls is a hot favorite with everyone — its called “Baal Mithai.”

The Kumaoni cuisine is a delicate amalgamation of flavor that one develops over time. They are not strong flavors but they add the subtle zing to your food. It’s a really simplistic edible experience, which comes with the term "comfort food", flavors, fragrances that one has grown up with.

Baal Mithai:

Brown chocolate-like fudge, made with roasted khoya/Mawa and then coated with white sugar balls, is a specialty of Kumaon Kingdom. The crunchy and chewy texture of these caramelized fudge balls is a gastronomical delight, which is hard to resist. Your craving for sweets is not complete without a "Baal Mithai" (बाल मिठाई / बालसाई). For a Kumaoni this sweet is like a Mount Everest of sweets.

                                                            

Singori:

This is a sweetmeat molded in an indigenous leaf called "Malu Ko Paat" "मालू को पात" which results in little cones fragrant with the elusive scent of cardamom and its leafy packaging. It will leave you asking for more, mostly available at Almora.

                                                             

Raito:

A side dish prepared from curd (Dhinali, धिनाली ), turmeric (Haldo, हल्दो), grated cucumber (Kakado,काकड़ो), green chilies (Haryi Khurshiani, हरयी खुरश्यानि), and mustard seeds (Sarson ka Dana, सरसों का दाना), this "Raito" "रायतो" can be had with just about everything in the Kumaoni cuisine. A side dish sure to make every Kumaoni drool!. For a Kumaoni the photo or even the word "Raito" is itself mouth-watering. This "Raito" is unique to the Kumaon Kingdom. It feels like Heaven, Ask any Kumaoni worth his salt.

                                                                       

Sinna Ko Saag:

The Sinna/Sinno (Word used in Pithoragarh and Sudur Paschim anchal) aka Bichoo saag is a badass plant that once touched can give you an itch and rashes that last for a couple of hours. This edible plant can be made into a scrumptious and nutritious Kumaoni classic, which is well worth the effort is taken to make it. The plant is boiled, converted into a fine pulp, cooked slowly and garnished with butter. One of the healthiest, organic and naturally grown vegetables of Kumaon Kingdom (It is noticed that most people of Kumaon have stopped eating this naturally available vegetable and instead serve it to farm animals by mixing it in the "Daalo"). Mothers in villages even use it to punish their children for misbehavior. (नन्दिना कयूं ना सुन्नान त इजा उनरा हाथ, खुट्टाऔर पूठा मिनी सिन्ना का सोट्टा लागूनान)

                                

Thichinako aloo ko Jhol:

Jhol means "thin gravy" in Kumaoni. "Thichinako Aloo ko Jhol" "थिचिनाको आलू को झोल" is a potato recipe served with Pooris (Laun, लॉन) or chapatis (Phulkyaफुलक्या / Rotoरोटो) or even Parathas (Panya Roto, पन्या रोटो) that has many variants.    

                                                                     

Aloo ka Gutka:

This palatable dish is a Kumaoni classic since ages, available in every restaurant or roadside joints. No fair, Mela or Gathering is complete without the availability of "Aloo Ka Gutka". Every house of Kumaon has a unique way of making it and every version of it is amazing. For making "Aloo ka Gutka", you only need a few ingredients namely boiled potatoes, jakhiya (Cleme Viscosa), red chilies (Laal Khurshiani,लाल खुरश्यानि ) and coriander leaves to garnish it. This dish has made a special place in the hearts of Pahadis, who love devouring it with pooris, bhang ki chutney, and Kumaoni raita, Yum! (It was earlier eaten plain, as "aloo ka gutka" but, nowadays it's being served with "Raito")

                                                           

Palyo / Jhol / Kadi:

"Palyo Bhaat" "पल्यो भात" is a very popular Kumaoni dish. It is very similar to the Punjabi kadi. However, in a traditional Palyo, Jamboo (Allium Stracheyi) is also added which is a spice/herb grown in Himalayan regions. It is used extensively in authentic Kumaoni cuisine, however, it is not so easy to find outside the Kumaon Kingdom. Curd gravy (Chaach) is used to make a perfect "Kumaoni Palyo"). Eaten with rice and Ghee Topping, Green or Fried Red Chilli (Haryi Khurshiani (हरयी खुरश्यानि) / Laal Khurshiani (लाल खुरश्यानि) and Radish (Choto, चोतो) is a perfect lunch for a weekend.

Palyo is the right word used in the Kumaon region.

What others in India call Lassi, is Chaach in Kumaon (Kindly note it's not Chaas but, "Chaach" छाच).

In Kumaon, Jhol means any thin Gravy (It can even be "Shikaar Ko Jhol" and so on. and "Kadi" / "Lassi" is a Desi word that is quietly entering into Kumaoni vocabulary / Lexicon.

                                                                              

Bhatt Ki Churdkani:

"Bhatt Ki Churdkani" (भट्ट की चड्कानी) augments the glory and charm of many occasions and festivals feted in the "Kumaon Kingdom". It is prepared from Black Bhatt and blended with Rice Paste and ordinary flour. "Bhatt Ki Churdkani" (भट्ट की चड्कानी) also has a very high nutritive value. "Bhatt Ki Churdkani" (भट्ट की चड्कानी) is bestowed with all the various essential elements like Vitamins, Proteins, Minerals, etc.

 

Koda Ko Roto:

These delicious and nutritious “Koda Ko roto” “कोदा को रोटो” are made from “Koda Ko Dhulo” “कोदा को धूलो”. It is commonly eaten in “Kumaon Kingdom” during winters and holds a key position in the list of Kumaon’s delicacies. It is eaten with ghee “घी”, butter “नौनि”, Chutney “चटनी” and or Haryo Noon “हर्यो नून”

                                                                 

Chamsur Ko Saag:

A very tasty and simple green vegetable of Kumaon Kingdom. Chamsur and Palung are usually mixed together to complement and  enhance the taste of the cuisine. These vegetables are seasonal and found at the start of the winter."चमसुर को साग".

                    

Nethi Ko Saag:

One of the most loved, healthiest and abundantly grown green vegetables of "Kumaon Kingdom" (What is called "Methi" by "Deshis" of  India and Nepal, is "Nethi" "नेथी" in the Hills of "Kumaon Kingdom").

                

Names of vegetables in the Hills of "Kumaon Kingdom" and plains of Nepal and India are different. We do not use the word "Tarkari or "Sabzi" in our lexicon and we are basically hunters, we hunt animals and than eat it so, we use the word "Shikaar" for all our meat products i.e "Bakara Ko Shikaar"' "Khassi Ko Shikaar", "Murga Ko Shikaar", "Saudo Ko Shikaar", "Hiran Ko Shikaar", "Ghorad Ko Shikaar", "Kaakad Ko Shikaar" and so on. We also do not eat "Halaal", we will ensure that anyone selling "Halaal Shikaar" is thrown out of "Kumaon Kingdom"(Irrespective of it being India, Nepal or Tibet)

THE NEVER SAY DIE ATTITUDE OF THE KUMAONIS

Kumaonis are the only ones to have a separate flag while at war and our psyche makes us the strongest ever opponent for any adversary. We have a firm belief that "if you want peace than, prepare for war" "अगर तमलाई शांति चाइनछ, त युद्ध खिलाई तैयार रीन पड़लो"

MARTIAL RACE

Kumaonis famous for their valor, having legendary courage and indomitable honor. were never subjugated by the powerful Muslim dynasties of Delhi and are considered as one of the most fierce martial races of India. Soldiering has been an important profession of the Kumaonis and the region has a long history of warfare. They often offered their martial services as mercenaries

The best fighting battalion of the Nizam of Hyderabad was of Kumaonis and the best strike force of Subhas Chandra Bose's INA was Kumaonis. The 3rd Gorkha rifles on 24th April 1815, was started with most Kumaonis and was called Kemoon Battalion

Each and every Kumaoni used to get trained in handling Guns and loading/firing of ammunition, which has now been stopped under pressure from UN, after they were intimated by Urban Naxals, who are brainwashed and on payroll/financed by our adversaries. (If there are no interference from the Government/Courts into the affairs or practices being followed in Kumaon and if there is a regular supply of Arms and Ammunition, a Kumaoni is capable of capturing any part of the world and defeating any enemy). By interfering into the practices being followed in the "Kumaon Kingdom" the Government and the Courts are directly playing into the hands of "Urban Naxals" and indirectly trying to tame us and you cannot win wars with a tamed Tiger (Being Tamed and Being Disciplined and two different things, Discipline makes you stronger but, Taming makes you weaker by taking away your Morale and Confidence)

KUMAON REGIMENT:

With the battle cry of "Jai Bhavani Aayo Kumaoni""जय भवानी आयो कुमाऊनी" and "Better to die with Honor than, to live like a coward" "डरपोक बनबरे जीना बैठे, आदर हे मरन निको भ्यो". Kumaonis have Never ever run away from the war front, Never ever surrendered and have always held on to the fort till the last man alive. Kumaon Regiment is the first regiment to go head-on into any war, take control of the location which allows other regiments to safely enter and take charge.

Kumaon Regiment was raised in 1813 and was, therefore, the first Indian Army regiment raised in the 19th century.

The Kumaon Regiment attained legendary status during the 1962 Indo-China War. (Battle of Rezang La is regarded as one of the greatest last stands in the history of human warfare).

It was the Kumaon Regiment and the Ladakh Scouts which captured Siachen Glacier during Operation Meghdoot in 1984 and due to it, India has a decisive edge over Pakistan in that region.

The chronology of events and history of the Kumaoni fighting spirit shows that for a Kumaoni the mission is always "Country First". Whenever the Country needs us, without hesitating, we will be the first to lay our lives for the country but our main vision in any war will always be to "Make our enemy die for his country" and we have done this for thousand's of years (The Moghuls, Pakistanis, and Chinese have more information on this subject because they were always at the receiving end). "Jai Bhavani, Aayo Kumaoni"

The Kumaon regiment is the most decorated regiment of the Indian Army (Awarded with the maximum number of Gallantry medals among all the Military regiments in Indian History, Including the First "Param Vir Chakra"). The regiment traces its origins to the 18th century and has fought in every major campaign, including the two world wars.

Pre World War 1: Nagpore... Maheidpore... Nowah... Central India... Burma 1885-87... China 1900... Afghanistan 1919

World War I: Neuve Chapalle, France & Flanders 1914-15... Suez Canal, Egypt 1915-16... Gaza, Jerusalem, Megiddo, Sharon, Neblus, Palestine 1917-18... Tigris 1916... Khan Bhagdadi, Mesopotamia 1915-18... Persia 1915-18... Suvla, Landing at Suvla, Scimitar Hill, Gallipoli 1915... Macedonia 1916-18... East Africa 1914-16... North West Frontier Province 1914-15, 1916-17

World War II: North Malaya, Slim River Malaya 1941-42... Kangaw, Bishenpur, Burma 1942-45...

Post Independence: Battle of Walong... Battle of Rezang La... Battle of Kumaon Hill... Battle of Maharajke... Battle of Chhamb... Operation Meghdoot... Operation Pawan... Kargil War...

When Kashmir Valley was invaded by Pakistan immediately after attainment of independence, Kumaon Regiment rose to the occasion and thwarted the large scale infiltration from across the border and battling all odds, the enemy was not allowed to capture Srinagar airfield at Badgam.

A total of 106 Jawans out of 111 men of a single company of Kumaon regiment laid down their lives while defending "Chushul" against the Chinese attack in 1962. The 1962 war, saw an active participation of 6 and 13 Kumaon Regiment at Walong (Arunachal Pradesh) and Rezang-La in Ladakh.                                                                                                                                            

Battle of Walong - This was the only battle of the war in which an Indian unit attacked the Chinese, rather than defending. On 14 November 1962, 6 Kumaon single-handedly attacked and captured Chinese defenses in the Walong sector, Arunachal Pradesh without any artillery or aerial support.                                                                                                                                                        The Chinese retaliated with wave after wave of human bodies and artillery. The Kumaonis were vastly outnumbered by over 10 to 1, but held the ground and repulsed every attack until all their ammunition was exhausted, without any logistical support. They then engaged in hand-to-hand combat and fought to the last man and bullet. 

Five times as many Chinese soldiers died in this battle. 

The Chinese succeeded in retaking the defenses when there was no Kumaoni left standing                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Battle of Rezang-La - The area assigned to 13 Kumaon was defended by three platoon positions, but the surrounding terrain isolated 13 Kumaon from the rest of the Regiment. The Indian artillery was located behind a hill feature, and could not train its guns on the target. Therefore, the Kumaon Regiment had to fight the battle without the protective comfort of the artillery. The Chinese suffered no such disadvantage and brought on heavy artillery fire on the 13 Kumaon’s Charlie Company.

The Chinese attack, which was expected, came through a dry river bed. It was repulsed with heavy machine-gun fire by 13 Kumaon, The Chinese regrouped and attacked persistently with more reinforcements.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           114 soldiers, of a total of 120 laid down their lives, 5 out of 6 survivors were severely injured and captured by the Chinese.

1700 Chinese soldiers were killed in the battle of Rezang - La                                                                                                       

These were matchless feats in the history of sacrifice of any regiment or military in the world.

Above incidents out of many other acts of bravery, prove the Kumaonis well-known adage, motto, faith and belief, that 

It is better to die with honor than to live like a coward.

Never ever run away from the war front.

Never surrender to the enemy and,

Fight till the last man alive.