July 19, 2024, 2:45 am

Haldwani ~ Gateway to Kumaon



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Haldwani Introduction & Geography

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Haldwani is located at 29.220 N 79.520 E in the Bhabar region of Kumaon. It has an average elevation of 424 metres (1,391 feet). Geologically, Haldwani is settled on a piedmont grade (called Bhabhar) where the mountain rivers go underground to re-emerge in the Indo-Gangetic plain. It has historically been a trading post and then a hub between the hilly regions of Kumaon and the Indo-Gangetic Plain.

Bhabhar is the region south of the Lower Himalayas where the alluvial grade merges into the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The name Bhabhar is derived from a local tall growing grass, Eulialopsis binata. Bhabhar is a level surface zone at the foothills of the Himalayas 34 km wide where the Himalayan rivers and streams disappear under boulders and gravels due to the porous soil and sub-soil composition of Bhabhar. As a result, the underground water level is very deep in this region. Being at the junction point of Himalayas and the Indo-Gangetic Plain, Bhabhar contains almost all the important trade and commerce hubs of Uttarakhand. Due to the top-soil replenishment every monsoon, is also a very fertile area with significant yields per unit area.

Haldwani is the last outpost of the plains. From here the road climbs, temperature drops with every metre of altitude and winds through the hill towns of Uttarakhand to the far reaches of the Himalayas. In the olden days, horse caravans stopped here to get precious rations, provisions and rest before the grueling climb which awaited them.

Haldwani has traditionally been the hub of trading and merchant activity as well as an important centre for administration and governance in the state. The town buzzes with activity and purpose from the wee hours of the morning. Transport of essential goods to towns such as Bhimtal, Saattal, Naukuchiyatal, Bhowali and Ramgarh is carried out as a daily activity.

Haldwani gets a fair amount of sun but the harshness of the plains summer is eased by the cool evening breeze from the Gaula river and any fluctuations of weather in Nainital affect Haldwani. Once the sun sets and all the activity in town comes to a slow stop, the town changes in character. A walk on the road to Kathgodam is almost silent, broken only by the gushing of the freshwater canal on the roadside and the twittering of birds.


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