Askot or Askote is a small Himalayan town in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand in India. It is the part of Kanalichhina development Block and Didihat Tehsil. The place is also famous for the Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary dedicated to the conservation of Musk deer. At an elevation of 3,629 ft, Panchuli and Chiplakot peaks form the backdrop for Askot. The town has Nepal to the east, Almora to the west, Pithoragarh to the south and Tibet to the north.
Askot lies on a ridge on the route between Dharchula and Pithoragarh. The town lies on the popular Kailash-Mansarovar Pilgrimage route. The name of the town, Askot, originates from ‘Assi Kot’ which means eighty forts that once stood in the region. Most of the forts are now in Dharchula district of Nepal. There are many excursion opportunities near the town like Pithoragarh, Munsiyari and Mount Abbott. Askot also boasts of some of the best skiing ranges in the country. Famous skiing ranges include Panchuli and Chiplakot.
The region of Askot has been ruled by several rulers in the past including Doti Kings of Nepal, Rajbars, Chands, Gorkhas, Katyuris and the British. The Pal rulers migrated from Ayodhya and neighboring regions to the Kumaon.
WHERE TO STAY
There are limited accommodation options in the town of Askot. Budget hotels are easily available in the town. A few mid-range hotels and resorts are also available in Askot that provide excellent services.
WHERE TO EAT
There are small eateries near the bus stand that serve basic vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Askot is between the months of April and September.
WHAT TO SEE
- Pithoragarh: About 25 km north, It’s natural beauty and scenic splendour has earned it the sobriquet of Little Kashmir. It is ideal for those seeking beauty and adventure.
- Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary: Located at an altitude of 5400 ft, Askot Sanctuary hosts a wide variety of animals and birds such as chukoras, snow cock, bear, serow, etc. This beautiful sanctuary which is located about 54 kms from Pithoragarh nestles at a height of 5412 feet above sea level. It is very popular among wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. It is a haven for snow leopards, Himalayan black bears, musk deers, snow cocks, tahra, bharals, chirs, koklas, pheasants and chukors. The lush sanctuary area dotted with temples is also a fine place to view the beauty of the Himalayas. The two main rivers Dhauli and Ikli rivers originate from here and and Gori Ganga flows amidst the unending stretches of pine, shisham, oak and sal trees through the sanctuary.
- Pithoragarh Fort: The town has the famous Pithoragarh Fort, which gives the town its name. Set at the top of a hill, it was built by the Gorkhas when they took over the town in 1789.
- Panchchuli Glacier: The other nearby attraction is Panchchuli Glacier. It is a Himalayan glacier located in the easternmost part of Kumaun. Panchachuli group of glaciers includes Meola, Sona, Uttari Balati and Dakshini Balati. It is in the west and east of five peaks of Panchchuli on the Johar Valley and Darma Valley. The other famous glacier Uttari Balati glacier is situated north to this. It is also the source of the Yuli River.
- Meola Glacier: The other famous glacier Meola Glacier is located at the base of the five peaks of Panchchuli in the Lassar Yankti valley. This glacier combines with the Sona Glacier to form the famous Panchchuli Glacier. Sona glacier is situated north to Meola glacier. Sona and Meola glaciers serve as the route to climb the Panchchuli peaks from the east. The snout of the Meola glacier is a famous one hour trek along Duktu Nala from Duktu village. The snout of Meola is situated at an altitude of 3,600 m (11,800 ft). This place acts as base camp for Panchchuli expeditions.
- Narayan Swami Ashram: It is situated at an elevation of 2,734 metres at the top of a hill at Narayan Nagar. Established by Sri Narayan Swami, this ashram is the branch of the original ashram set up by the Swamy in 1936. He established this, to help the pilgrims on their trek to the famous Kailash Mansarovar. Several social and spiritual activities are organised at this ashram which has the capacity to accommodate around 40 people. The ashram is closed in the winter months due to heavy snowfall.
Jauljibi: Just 15 km away is Jauljibi, where the Gori and the Kali Ganga meet. Don’t miss this place when visit Askot. Tourist can also visit spiritual centre from Ogla and Tawaghat which are in close proximity. There are many excursion opportunities near the town like Pithoragarh, Munsiyari and Mount Abbott. Askot also boasts of some of the best skiing ranges in the country. Famous skiing ranges include Panchuli and Chiplakot.