Pauri Garhwal is a district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Its headquarters is in the town of Pauri. It is sometimes referred to simply as Garhwal, though it should not be confused with the larger Garhwal region of which it is only a part.
Located partly in the Gangetic plain and partly in the northern Himalayas, Pauri Garhwal district encompasses an area of 5,230 square kilometres (2,020 sq mi) and is situated between 29° 45’ to 30°15’ North Latitude and 78° 24’ to 79° 23’ East Longitude. The district is bordered on the southwest by Bijnor district, Uttar Pradesh, and, clockwise from west to southeast, by the Uttarakhand districts of Haridwar, Dehradun, Tehri Garhwal, Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Almora, and Nainital.
The climate of Pauri Garhwal is mostly pleasant in summer and cold in winter. In the rainy season the climate is cool and the landscape green. However, in Kotdwar and the adjoining Bhabar area, it is quite hot, reaching the high 40s Celsius during the summer. In the winter, many parts of Pauri receive snowfall.
Human civilization in the Garhwal Himalayas has progressed with the rest of the Indian sub-continent. The Katyuri kings comprised the first historical dynasty, which ruled over unified Uttarakhand from 800 to 1100 and left records in the form of inscriptions and temples. After the downfall of the Katyuris, the Garhwal region was fragmented in more than sixty-four principalities ruled by chieftains. In the mid 15th century, Chandpurgarh emerged as a powerful principality under the rule of Jagatpal (1455 to 1493), who was a descendant of Kanakpal. At the end of 15th century, Ajaypal ruled Chandpurgarh and succeeded in unifying and consolidating various principalities on the region. His kingdom came to known as Garhwal. Subsequently, he transferred his capital from Chandpur to Devalgarh, before 1506, and later to Srinagar, from 1506 to 1519.
King Ajaypal and his successors ruled Garhwal for nearly three hundred years. During this period they faced a number of attacks from Kumaon, Mughals, Sikhs, and Rohillas. An important event in the history of Garhwal was the Gorkha invasion, which was marked by extreme brutality. The word Gorkhyani has become synonymous with massacre and marauding armies. After subjugating Doti and Kumaon, the Gorkhas attacked Garhwal and reached as far as Langoorgarh, despite stiff resistance of the Garhwali forces. Then, news came of a Chinese invasion at the rear of the Gorkhas, who were forced to lift the siege. In 1803, the Gorkhas again mounted an invasion. After capturing Kumaon, they attached Garhwal. After initial defeats, King Pradyumna Shah escaped to Dehradun to futilely reorganize his defenses. Garhwali soldiers suffered heavy casualties and the king himself was killed in the battle of Khudbuda. The Gorkhas became the masters of Garhwal in 1804 and ruled the territory for twelve years.
The Gorkha rule ended in 1815, when the British drove the Gorkhas west of the Kali River. On 21 April 1815, the British established their rule over the eastern half of the Garhwal region, lying east of the Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers, which became known as British Garhwal and Doon of Dehradoon. The remaining part of Garhwal, in the west, was restored to King Sudershan Shah, who established his capital at Tehri. Initially, the administration was entrusted to the commissioner of the Kumaon and Garhwal with his headquarters at Nainital; but later, in 1840, Garhwal was formed into a separate district under an assistant commissioner with his headquarters at Pauri.
At the time of Indian independence, Garhwal, Almora, and Nainital districts were administered by the commissioner of Kumaon division. In early 1960, Chamoli district was curved out of Garhwal district. In 1969, Garhwal division was formed, with its headquarter at Pauri. In 1998, Rudraprayag district was formed, by carving out seventy-two villages of Khirsu block from Pauri Garwhal district, and Pauri district attained its present form.
The most common mode of transport is by either bus or taxi. Bus services are provided by the state-run Uttarakhand Roadways, Garhwal Motor Owner Union (GMOU) Ltd., and Garhwal Motor Users (GMU) Ltd. Operations of Uttarakhand Roadways are limited mainly to interstate routes and major cities and towns of the district and state. GMOU Ltd. is the largest bus service provider in the district, providing services to almost all parts of the district. The services of GMU Ltd. are limited to a comparatively small area adjoining Kumaon division. There are a number of taxi unions in many towns of the district, providing service for almost every local stretch of road. The only railway station in the district is at Kotdwara. It was established by the British as early as 1889. Pauri Garhwal district is situated in the Shiwalik range, the outermost range of the Himalayas, and its hills are very rugged. As a result, it is not considered feasible to extend the railway network further. The district does not have any regular air services. The nearest is Jolly Grant Airport, near the state capital of Dehradun, about 155 kilometres (96 mi) from Pauri and 120 kilometres (75 mi) from Kotdwara.