|Regions with significant populations|
|Garhwal (Uttarakhand, India)|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Kumaoni people, Khas people|
The Garhwali people are an Indian ethnolinguistic group native to the Garhwal, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, who speak Garhwali, an Indo-Aryan language.
In modern usage, "Garhwali" is used to refer to anyone whose linguistic, cultural, and ancestral or genetic origins is from the Garhwal Himalayas. Their ethnonym is derived from the word ‘Garhwal’ or 'Gadwal'. The exact origin of the word Garhwal is unknown. However, it is believed to be derived from the title ‘Garh-wala’ (owner of forts) given to the ruler Mayal, who is said to have consolidated 52 principalities to form the kingdom in the 14th century. After this conquest, the domain under Mayal is said to have been called ‘Garhwal’, possibly due to the numerous forts in the region.
Prior to Mayal, the name of the area and its people was unknown. However, some historians like "Atkinson" have alluded to ‘Khas-des’ (Land of the Khasas), and "Sircar" has stated that ‘Stri-Rajya’ (Kingdom of Women) is the ancient name of Garhwal and Kumaon. However, there are no evidences to corroborate these claims.
The earliest reference to this region are found in the Skanda Purana which describes its names as Kedar Khand and Himvat respectively.'. It describes the area that contained Gangadwar (Haridwar and Kankhala), Badrinath, Gandhamardan, and Kailash.
Main article: Garhwal Kingdom
The Kingdom of Garhwal was founded by Mayal Rajputs nearly 1000 years ago. The area comprises 52 principalities called garhs (fortresses). These were small and had their own chiefs who were responsible for the welfare of the garhs. The Mayal dynasty ruled the Kingdom until 1803 before the "Gurkhas" invaded Kumaon and Garhwal. Gurkhas defeated Garhwal king and ruled for over twelve years. These Gurkha raided in the British territories that led to broke out the Anglo–Nepalese War in 1814.
At the end of the Anglo–Nepalese War, Garhwal Kingdom and Kumaon Kingdom were known as the British districts. However, Tehri's principality was left to King Sudarshan Shah, son of king Pradymun. A part of this kingdom was taken by the British, and later, it became known as the British Garhwal which spread over the area of 5,629 mi2 (14,580 km2). After the British rule, Garhwal made rapid development. Two battalions of the Indian army (the 39th Garhwal Rifles) were deployed in the area, stationed at the military cantonment of Lansdowne. Grain was one of the major corps of this area. Apart from this, cloth, while salt, borax, livestock, and wool were imported from Tibet. The administrative headquarters of the area were established at Pauri. Srinagar (Garhwal) was the largest city and served as an important trade center along with the town of Kotdwara which is situated at Oudh and Rohilkhand railway tracks. Later, it became a part of the Punjab Hill States Agency of British India. Most of the Uttarkashi district acceded to the Union of India in 1949.
Garhwali are known for their courage because they were preferred by the British as an army. Garhwali Kingdom was one of the few kingdoms that never came under the Muslim rule influence.
The history of Garhwal is older than that of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Worshipping Lord Shiva is attributing reverent honour and homage to him. According to the great Mahabharata, Garhwal is believed to be the land where the Vedas and the Shastras were made.
Main article: Garhwali language
The Garhwali language (गढ़वळि भाख/भासा) is primarily spoken by the Garhwali people of the north-western Garhwal Division from the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand in the Indian Himalayas. The Garhwali language is classified as a Central Pahari language belonging to the Northern Zone of Indo-Aryan languages. Garhwali is one of the 325 recognised languages of India which is spoken by over 2,267,314 people such as Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Dehradun, Haridwar and Rudraprayag districts of Uttarakhand.
The language has many regional dialects including: Srinagari, Tehri (Gangapariya), Badhani, Dessaulya, Lohbya, Majh-Kumaiya, Bhattiani, Nagpuriya, Rathi, Salani (Pauri), Ravai, Parvati, Jaunpuri, Gangadi (Uttarkashi), Chandpuri. Srinagari dialect is the literary standard, while Pauri is generally regarded as the prominent one.
However, for a number of reasons, Garhwali is a rapidly shrinking language. The UNESCO Atlas of the World's Endangered Languages book authored by "Theo Baumann" has described Garhwali language one of the moribund languages that needs to be protected.
Chandrabadni Devi Temple is located in Tehri Garhwal. The temple can be reached either from 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) long rout Kandikhal to Srinagar-Tehri or 9 kilometres (5.6 mi)) long Jamnikhal en route Dev Prayag-Tehri via a link road of Jurana. It can also be reached via (1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi)) long bridle path.
The temple administration body organises several annual events including cultural and religious seminars.
|Umra Narayan||Koteshwar Mahadev|
Umra Narayan is situated between the mystic and peaceful hills of Rudraprayag where "Devine" temple of Lord Umra Narayan (Isth Dev of gram sann) is located. According to mythology, this temple was built during the time of Adi Shankracharya, and is believed that it was constructed by Adi Shankracharya when he was on his way to Lord Badrinath's temple. The temple has been now renovated and is 5–7 kilometres (3.1–4.3 mi) away from the central city of Rudraprayag.
It is also believed that most of the "Isth Devas" in the Garhwal region are the incarnation of "Lord Vishnu" (Narsingh Dev Ji), and sometimes even the incarnation of "Vishnu" itself.
Koteshwar Mahadev is located about three kilometres inside the 'heart' of Rudraprayag, Koteshwar Mahadev temple. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This place is presumed to be the same spot where Lord Shiva was stopped for meditation where he was on his way to Kedarnath. According to local mythology, this temple has its presence since the time of Bhasmasur (the Deadly Asur/demon), who received a boon from "Shiva" that turned a head into Bhasma or ashes whenever he touched with boon to anyone's head. Lord Shiva accompanied by another one reached to a cave which was the home of Lord Shiva, and finally lord "Vishnu" helped him by killing the demon. The temple is filled with fantastic energy/aura, and one can feel it. Few drops of water are continually running through the hill.
Dhari Devi temple of "Dhari Devi" is situated on the banks of the river Alaknanda. One has to travel 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Srinagar (Pauri Garhwal) on Srinagar-Badrinath highway to Kaliya Saur, and then turn down where one has to travel half of a kilometre towards Alaknanda river. The upper part of Goddess "Kali" is worshipped here. According to the local people, the face of the idol changes as a girl, a woman, and an old lady according to the passage of time. This idol is located in an open area. Many times, villagers and some philanthropists tried to build a roof for Goddess, but their efforts returned empty handed as the roof gets dismantle every time. As per "Srimad Devi Bhagwat", there are 108 Shakti Peeth as in India, and this holy shrine is one of them.
Kalimath, also known as "Kaviltha", is a village which is regarded as a divine place and Shakti Peeth. It lies at an altitude of around 6,000 feet (1,800 m) on the river Saraswati in the Himalayas, surrounded by the peaks of Kedarnath in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. Kalimath is situated close to Ukhimath and Guptakashi. It is one of the "Siddha Peeths" of the region and is regarded a respectful place with religious importance. The temple of the goddess Kali is located in this village and is visited by many devotees throughout the year, especially during the "Navratras". There are 108 Shakti Peethas in India, and this holy shrine is one of them as described in the "Srimad Devi Bhagwat". The upper part of goddess Kali is worshipped in "Dhari Devi". Goddess Kali killed the demon "Raktavija" here in this area. After killing the demon, they went under the earth.
Swami Satyanand saraswati