The majority of the population is Hindus here. As per the recent census, almost 85% of the local residents are the followers of Hinduism. Rest 15% comprises Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and some other local ethnic populations.
Chaukori is situated in the region which is one of the most religious in the country. Each year millions of pilgrims travel to this region to visit numerous ancient temples which are highly revered. One of the most popular one is the Patal Bhuvaneshwar. It is a limestone cave where Lord Shiva along with many other Hindu Gods and Goddesses are being worshiped. The Adi Kailash which is situated in the Munsiyari, is also very popular among those who cannot travel to the Mt. Kailash in Tibet.
This region has basically two main ethnic communities. Depending on the region of origin, people are classified as Garhwali or Kumaoni. Here, the official language is Hindi, which is used for all administrative procedures. It is also widely spoken and understood. Apart from this, there are several local languages and dialects which are also spoken like Garhwali, Kumaoni, Juansari, Bhoti, etc. The Kumaoni language has been included in the list of UNESCO’s Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger. Efforts are being made in order to conserve this language
Local folk music and dance is an integral part of the local people. They perform these on occasions like weddings, religious festivals, etc. Wooden carved murals are often seen to adore the local buildings. This traditional art has been in practice since 17th century. These intricate geometrical patterns will leave you mesmerized with their high level of craftsmanship.
This is a war memorial situated at a distance of around 85 km from Chaukori. It was established by the Indian Military in the remembrance of the soldiers who laid down their lives in Kashmir. This site offers beautiful views of surrounding hills, making it a perfect location for picnic on the weekends and on the national holidays.
Some 12km outside Chaukori, there is another small hill station known as Berinag. It is widely famous for its Tea Gardens. The high quality Tea produced from these plantations are exported and sold in the international markets. The temples are equally fascinating as one among these worship snakes as its deity. From this place you can catch some of the magnificent views of the Himalayas, especially of the Nanda Devi peak.
This region has a very rich and diverse flora and fauna heritage. At elevated sites there are pine forests which cover the mountain peaks. This region also has varieties of flowering bushes and shrubs. Rhododendrons and Deodars can be found in abundance here. The mountain forests provide habitat to the local population of snow leopard, musk deer, fox and Himalayan Bear.
This region experiences the climate as that of the Himalayan range. The summers are from March to June which is the perfect time to catch a few glances of the Himalayas. At this time the sky is clear and the weather is good for hiking and trekking. From the end of summers to September, the monsoon sets in. during this time there is heavy rainfall and there are occasional landslides. From November to March, the winter season sees a lot of snowfall. It is also a paradise for the honeymooning couples.
Chaukori is one of the popular hill stations which fall across some of the most popular trekking routes in the region. There are three famous trekking routes. One is the Chaukori - Berinag - Patal Bhuwaneshwar – Gangolihat, which is a 3 days trekking route. Another is the Chaukori - Kotbaniya - Dharmghar – Gangolihat, which also spans 3 days. For those who do not have 3 days to spare, they can choose a 2 day trekking route option which includes Chaukori - Thal – Pithoragarh.
Located at some distance from Chaukori, Munsiyari is another popular tourist location. Situated at an elevation of around 2300 meters above the sea level, it is seldom referred as the ‘Little Kashmir’. The star attraction of this place is the picturesque beauty of the Panchachuli peaks. It is a group of five snow capped mountain peaks which makes this hill station very popular. It is also Milam, Ralam and Namik Glaciers which are popular hiking sites in this region.
Various hotels and resorts generally have very good restaurants of their own. There you will find local cuisine along with some other popular Indian cuisines. If you are staying at the KMVN Hotel or Ojaswi Inn, you are likely to get a very good service.
The Dhabas are otherwise another very good option to get a taste of local dishes. These are road side eateries which cater to the travelers. In most cases, their food is always freshly prepared and very healthy.
The food of this region is primarily vegetarian. The varieties and supply of the vegetable may not be abundant; however, local seasonal vegetables are preferred by the natives. Pulses are very common in the daily cuisine and are taken along with both rice and rotis. Non vegetarian dishes mostly comprise chicken and mutton preparations. Beef is not at all popular as its consumption is forbidden for the Hindus. Pork is also rare here. Ghee or clarified butter is very generously used along with a variety of spices in the local cuisine.
The life of the people in this region is very traditional and religious. For men and women, various festivals and events is a good opportunity for coming together and celebrating. There are folk songs which are sung and danced upon. Some of these festivals are a single day affair; otherwise few festivals go on for few days at a stretch.
Chaukori is one of those places in this country where one can escape from all the chaos and commotion of the urban life. Here, you can submit yourself to the unadulterated beauty of the nature and enjoy the days as it comes. It is an ideal destination to reboot your system and rejuvenate your mind. And all it takes to do this is to enjoy the nature’s bounty of this beautiful hill station.
Chaukori has small market sites which offers local produce as well as produce from the mountains. Chaukori has several tea estates and orchards. These farm produces often find their way to these local markets.
There are several items indigenous to this region which makes beautiful souvenirs. This region is famous for carved wooden handicrafts. Also, hand woven shawls, scarves, rugs and baskets are very beautiful and very popular among tourists.
Chaukori may not be a very popular shopping destination; however, at Almora you will get several shops. Situated around 100 km away from Chaukori, this is the cultural capital of this region. Here, the markets are few centuries old, which are in business till date. The Lala Bazar is the oldest one dating back by more than 200 years.