Located in the Siwalik range of the lower Himalaya on the western edge of Pithoragarh (the easternmost district of Uttarakhand), Berinag is a typical quaint Himalayan township, nestled at an altitude of 1,700m (5,577ft), amidst pine and oak forests. Previously known as 'Bedinag', the name comes from the Nagveni King Benimadhavahas, and makes reference to the numerous temples dedicated to snakes in the region.
Earlier part of Almora district, Pithoragarh was carved out as a separate district in wake of the Chinese aggression in 1960. Berinag offers a panoramic view of the Greater Himalayas, from Garhwal Himalayas to the Nepal ranges. The region is famous for its tea estates developed during the British rule. The climate is pleasant with December too February being the colder months with some snow, and July to October hosting the rains.
Berinag was a major worship centre under the Chand rulers, and consequently abounds in religious folklore and culture, with numerous temples dotting the landscape.
The villages around Berinag are mostly agrarian, and are relatively small settlements in comparison with their counterparts down in the plains.
The villages of Berinag (Pithoragarh district)
Located about 3km from Berinag, the village of Garaun has a population of around 450 people. Steeped in religious folklore, the village and its surroundings find mention in many ancient scriptures, and a lot of Hindu deities are associated with the region. A picturesque, 250 metre high seasonal waterfall attracts a lot of visitors.
Located 3km away from Berinag with a population of around 500, the village of Deinagar is defined by a large British era building. Agriculture is the primary occupation of the community, and the village is surrounded by beautiful conifer forests whilst also offering good views of the Himalayas.
Located about 2km from Berinag, Chalori is a relatively small village consitsting of about 20 families. Again, agriculture is the primary occupation and the village is located in a lush green and pristine valley, surrounded by hills with many famous temples, promising complete solitude from the rush of urban life.
Located 9km from Berinag, the majority of the 200 or so residents of Budera are farmers and shepherds. The village is home to the famous Punkershwar Mahadev temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, which hosts a popular fair procession during the Dusshera festival. An old British bungalow takes centre stage in the village landscape.
One of the largest villages in the region in terms of population (approximately 700), Kamdina is located about 8km from Berinag. Agriculture and rearing livestock are the major occupations, and the surroundings offer a cool, relaxed atmosphere.