district garhwal british
GARITIVAL, a district of British Tndia, in the Kumaon division, under the jurisdiction of the lieutenant-governor of the North-Western Provinces, situated between 29° 16' 15" and 31° 5' 30" N. lat., and 78° 18' 45' and 80`' 8' E. long, and bounded on the N. by Chinese Tibet, on the E. by Kumaon district, on the S. by Bijnor district, and on the W. by Independent Garhwfil or Tehri. Garhwal district consists almost entirely of rugged mountain ranges running in all directions, and separated by narrow valleys, which may almost be described as gorges or ravines. The only level portion of the district consists of a narrow strip of waterless forest, between the southern slopes of the hills and the fertile plains of Rohilkhand. The highest mountains are in the north of the district, the principal peaks being Nanda Devi (25,661 feet), Kamet (25,413), Ircoul (23,382), Dunagiri (23,181), Badrinath (22,901), and Kedarnath (22,853). The Alaknanda, one of the main sources of the Ganges, receives with its affluents the whole drainage of the district. The river is regarded as of peculiar sanctity, and is annually resorted to by thousands of devout Hindus. At Deoprayag the Alaknanda joins the Bhagirathi, and thenceforward the united streams bear the name of the Ganges. Navigation is impracticable in all the rivers, owing to the velocity of their currents, and the existence of shoals and rapids. Cultivation is principally confined to the immediate vicinity of the rivers, which are employed for purposes of irrigation ; but out of a total estimated area of 5500 square miles in 1872, only 209 were returned as under cultivation. Agriculture, however, is carried on with great skill and industry, by terracing out the bill sides. Wheat, rice, and mandud are the staple crops, the surplus produce being exported to Tibet. Tea planting is also carried on under European supervision.
The census of 1872 disclosed a population in the Garlimil district of 310,288 (115,745 males and 154,537 females), distributed among 3944 villages and 57,293 houses. The Hindus numbered 308,398, or no less than 99'3 per cent. of the population, the Mahometans 1799, and Christians 85. The two great Hindu temples of Badrinath and Kedarniith, which lie hidden among the recesses of the snowy range, attract large numbers of pilgrims, who considerably add to the prosperity of the district, No place in Garhwill contains as many as 5000 inhabitants. Srinagar d; the largest town, but the administrative headquarters is at Taunt. Trade is principally carded on with Tibet, by way of the Mina aml Niti passes, sheep and goats being used as beasts of burden. The chief exports arc grain, pita•, cloth, and tobacco; the imports salt, borax, wool, gold, and precious stones. Good hill roads, from 10 to 12 feet in width, intersect the district in every direction, the total length being about 1000 miles. The land revenue in 1875 amounted to £9555. Only a small force of regular police is stationed at headquarters, and flare is little crime of any kind.
Education has made greater progress among these mountain valleys than in the plain districts beneath them. In 1875 73 schools afforded education to 3609 pupils.
Garhwai originally consisted of 52 petty chieftainships, each chief with his own independent fortress (gark). Between 400 and 500 years ago, one of these chiefs, Ajai Pal, ruler of Chandpur, reduced all the minor principalities under his own sway, and founded the Garhwal kingdom. Ile and his ancestors ruled over Qarhwal and the adjacent state of Tehri, in an uniuterrnpted line till 1803, when the Gurkhas invaded Kumtion and Garhwal driving Prithiman Sah, the Garhwril chief, into the plains. For twelve years the Garkhris ruled the country with a rod of iron, until a series of encroachments by them on British territory, led to the war with Nepal iu 1814. At the termination of the campaign, Garhwal and Kumion were converted into British districts, while the Tehri principality was restored to Pridhiman Sab, whose grandson still holds it. Since the annexation, Garhwal has rapidly advanced in material prosperity. Cultivation has rapidly increased, and the spread of tea-culture has opened the country to British capital and enterprise, which are converting this long harassed tract into an important and wealthy district.