Gaura Devi
Gaura devi fair use only.jpg
Gaura Devi
Died4 July 1991 (Aged 66)
Known forChipko movement

Gaura Devi (1925 – 1991) was a grassroots activist and a rural women community leader from India who played an important role in the Chipko movement.[1]


Gaura Devi was born in 1925[2] in a village named Lata in the state of Uttarakhand. She moved to a nearby village named Raini by the Alaknanda River. By the age of 22 she was a widow with a child. Her new village was near to the border with Tibet.[1] Gaura Devi was elected to lead the Mahila Mangal Dal (Women's Welfare Association) in the wake of the Chipko movement. The organization worked on the protection of community forests.[3][4]

Birth of Chipko

Main article: Chipko Movement

Gaura Devi came to the forefront of the Chipko movement in 1974. On 25 March 1974, she was told by a young girl that local loggers were cutting trees near their village. The men of Reni village had been tricked out of the village by news that the government was going to pay out compensation for land used by the army.[1] Gaura Devi and 27 other women decided to tackle the loggers. She confronted and challenged the men to shoot her instead of cutting down the trees and she described the forest as "Vandevta" (God of Jungle) and her maika (mother's house). Finally, with the help of other women she managed to halt the work of loggers by hugging the trees despite the abuse and threats of the armed loggers. The women of village and Gaura Devi kept guard of the trees that night and over the next three or four days other villages and villagers joined the action.[1] The loggers left leaving the trees.[5][6][7] After this incident, the Uttar Pradesh Government established a committee of experts to investigate the issue of felling of trees, and the lumber company withdrew its men from Reni. The committee stated that the Reni forest was an ecologically sensitive area and that no trees should be felled there. Thereafter the government of Uttar Pradesh placed a 10-year ban on all tree-felling in an area of over 1150 km².[7]

Gaura Devi died in July 1991, at the age of 66.[8][9]


  1. ^ a b c d Parallelus. "Chipko Heritage". Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  2. ^ "चिपको आंदोलन को गूगल कर रहा 'सलाम', जानें कौन थीं गौरा देवी- Navbharattimes Photogallery" (in Hindi).
  3. ^ "Gaura Devi....A forgotten Hero of Chipko Movement In Gharwal". Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Lessons from the mountains". The Hindu. 21 May 2000. Archived from the original on 13 June 2016.
  5. ^ Chipko 30th Anniversary Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine The Nanda Devi Campaign.
  6. ^ Chipko! – Hill conservationists Tehelka, 11 September 2004.
  7. ^ a b Jain, Shobita. "Standing up for trees: Women's role in the Chipko Movement". Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  8. ^ "Delicate hand at cradle, firm in struggle". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Lessons from the mountains". The Hindu. 21 May 2000. Archived from the original on 13 June 2016.