In 1841 Pilgrim (Barron), while passing through Pithoragarh, wrote : " The first view of Pithoragarh is striking,in one instant, when you reach the top of the pass (Chandak) which overlooks it,a wide valley bursts on the view, with
the small neat military cantonment,fort and scattecyan villages, and meandering streams, which distribute fertility to thousands of well cultivated fields....... I was apprehensive, too, that the beauties of Nainital had exhausted the store,
and found that I was never in my life more mistaken."
Pithoragarh is a small town, which gives its name to the district. It lies in the centre of the western half of the Soar Valley which resembles the Kashmir valley on a miniature scale. It is prettily dotted with villages, generally placed on eminences. The view from some of the higher altitudes in Pithoragarh captures the snow-capped peaks of Panch Chulhi, Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot.
The town is set in a valley popularly known as "Soar" (root meaning is Cool) and lies in the centre of four hills Chandak, Dhwaj, Kumdar and Thal Kedar, and stretches in the southern flank to Jhulaghat demarcated by the Kali river adjoining the barren peaks of Nepal Hills.
Pithoragarh, is known as the gateway to the Himalayas from the north, as pilgrims trek through this town to the Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, and Om Parvat.