Bageshwar district in Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand is considered to be the abode of lord Shiva, thus highly pious and this pious land is believed to lead one to salvation. The Neel Parvat (blue himalaya) seen from Bageshwar is the view that frees the soul from the cycle of birth and death. Highly honored by the people of Kumaun, Bageshwar is the land mentioned in Hindu mythology Skanda Puran as the most pious land on earth blessed by lord Shiva and the home of lord Shiva next to Baranashi. Skanda Purana mentions that Bageshwar was formed as another Baranasi in the order of lord Shiva. The holy confluence of Saryu, Gomti and Bhagirathi rivers has the capacity to liberate the souls.
History and legend of Bageshwar District
Bageshwar was formerly a tehsil of Almora district. On 15th September 1997, Bageshwar tehsil was separated from Almora district to form an independent district Bageshwar.
Bageshwar gets its mention in Skanda Puran, the Hindu mythology as being the place where gods and sages came to meditate to lord Shiva. Bageshwar region is considered pious and devotees believe that the one who dies in Bageshwar attains salvation.
According to Skanda Puran, Rishi (sage) Basistha was bringing the pious Saryu river as per the direction of lord Brahma. Rishi Markendaya was meditating the very time, thus it was not possible for Saryu to come. Basistha prayed to lord Shiva for help. Lord Shiva came to the place in the form of lion (Byaghra) and goddess Parvati came in the form of cow (gau). The Byaghra attacked the gau and gau cried which made rishi Markendaya open his eyes and help gau. When Markendaya left his spot, Saryu got way to flow or come down. Lord Shiva in the form of Byaghra (lion) answered to Markendaya rishi and the pious spot was established as Baghreshwar which later was made Bageshwar. Baghreshwar originally meant the adobe where lord Shiva appeared as Byaghra (lion) but the term Bageshwar denotes Bag (tiger). Later in 1450 AD, a Chanda dynasty king Laxmi Chanda established the temple of Bageshwar.
Economy of Bageshwar
People in Bageshwar plant wheat, rice, maize and Barley crops. The major fruits in Bageshwar are leechi, mango, amla and jamun. Potato and onion are the vegetables that grow in the land of Bageshwar. Cereals like manduva, bajra, masoor, pea and rapseed are mostly grown here. Large area in Bageshwar is covered by forest, barren and uncultivated land can be seen more than expected. Utilizing these lands would add to economy of Bageshwar. The trees in Bageshwar forests are deodar, banj, burans, chir and lantana.
There are no large or medium scale industries in Bageshwar. The major exportable items in Bageshwar are forest based product – Lisa, aromatic and medicinal herb and woolen products. The potential areas for service industries are hotel, resort, adventure and religious tourism; nursing homes; tire retreating, body making of automobiles, automobile workshop; ropeway; cyber café and computer training institute. Potential areas for production industries are soap, fruit processing, copper utensils, woolen, herbal, floriculture, steel and mini-hydropower.
Administrative Setup Bageshwar
Bageshwar district is divided into 4 tehsils and 3 development blocks. There are 17 allopathic hospitals, 25 ayurvedic hospital, 2 community health centers and 9 primary health centers in Bageshwar district to address the health needs of general public. To provide easy and affordable access to education, there are 676 primary schools, 104 middle schools, 91 secondary and senior secondary schools and 3 colleges in Bageshwar district.
Bageshwar district is surrounded by three districts – West and north west by Chamoli district, north east and east by Pithoragarh district and south by Almora district.