Origin of Garhwal Division
The region of Garhwal Division was previously settled by the Kols. Kols are aboriginal inhabitants of the austro-asiatic physical type and they were later joined by the Indo-Aryan Khas/Khasas who arrived from the northwest by the Vedic period.
The Khas are actually believed to be the descendents of the Eastern Iranian origin of ancient Kamboj. Some believe that the Khasas have arrived from Tajikistan and share some common physical traits with the Tajik people.
Historians doing research on Garhwal and Kumaon say that at the beginning there were only three castes: Khas Brahmin, Silpkar and Khas Rajput. The primary occupation of the Khas Rajput was of the law enforcement and Zamindari. The Khas Brahmin's main work was to perform religious rituals in the temples and educational centres of the elite class. The Shipkar used to work for the Rajputs and skilled with handicrafts. The surname of the Khas originated from Bahuguna from Bahugani and Pandey from Pandeygaon. However, the cast of the Uttarakhandi people cannot be understood from their surname.
History of Garhwal Division
The Garhwal Kingdom was set up by the Rajputs. One of the chiefs, Ajai Pai, lessened all the small principalities under his own wave and set by the Garhwal Kingdom. He and his successors ruled the Garhwal Kingdom and also the adjacent Tehri Garhwal for an uninterrupted time till 1803 when the place was invaded by the Gurkhas.
The Gurkhas ruled the place for twelve years until serious encroachments by the British Rulers and that led to the fierce war called the Gurkha War in the 1814. After the battle, the territory was fully converted to British District. The British district of the Garhwal was in the Kumaon Divison of the United Provinces.
Geography of Garhwal Division
The geography of Garhwal Division mainly consists of rugged mountain ranges spread in all direction and are separated by narrow valleys which in most cases become ravines or deep gorges. The sole level portion of the district was the small and narrow band of waterless forests between the fertile plains and southern slopes of Rohilkhand. The highest mountain is in the Chamoli District, the main peak is the Nanda Devi (25,643 ft), Kamet (25,446 ft), Chaukhamba (23,419 ft), Trisul (23,360 ft), Dunagiri (23,182 ft), and Kedarnath Temple (22,769 ft). One of the main sources of the Gange River, the Alaknanda, receives the whole drainage of the District. The Alakanda River joins the Bhagirathi River at Devprayag and the united stream gets the name Ganges.
Cultivation and agricultural activity is mainly confined to the direct vicinity of the rivers, which are employed for irrigational purposes.
People of Garhwal Division
The people who have Garhwali roots are known as the Garhwali and they have originated from Indo-Aryan group who mainly inhabited in the Garhwal Himalayas. The Garhwali people speaking the Garhwali language or any other local dialect live in areas like Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal, Dehradun, Haridwar, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Chamoli, and Bageshwar districts of Uttarakhand, India. Culture of the people is a mixture of local population coupled with the various traditions of the immigrants. Bulks of the people are involved in the tourism, agriculture and the defense industry.
Language of Garhwal Division
The language of the Garhwal division is actually the Central Pahari Language which belongs to the North Zone of the Indo-Aryan and is also native to the Garhwal. Out of 325 recognized language in India, Garhwali is one of them and is spoken by over 2,267,314 people in the Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal, Dehradun, Haridwar and Rudraprayag districts of Uttarakhand. This language is also spoken by people living in other part of the country like Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.