Haldwani Knowledge Guide


Founding and 19th century

In 1816, after the British defeated Gorkhas, and gained control of Kumaon by the Treaty of Sugauli, Gardner was appointed the Commissioner of Kumaon. Later George William Traill took over as Commissioner and renamed Halduvani as Haldwani in 1834. Though British records suggest that the place was established in 1834, as a mart for hill people who visited the Bhabhar (Himalayan foothills) region, during the cold season. The township, formerly located in Mota Haldu, had only thatched houses. Brick-houses began to be built only after 1850. The first English middle school was established in 1831. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Haldwani was briefly seized by the rebels of Rohilkhand, soon martial law was declared in the region by Sir Henry Ramsay (the Commissioner of Kumaon), and by 1858, the region was cleared of the rebels. The Rohillas, who were accused of attacking Haldwani, were hanged by the British at Phansi Gadhera in Nainital. Later, Ramsay connected Nainital with Kathgodam by road in 1882. In 1883–84, the railway track was laid between Bareilly and Kathgodam. The first train arrived at Haldwani from Lucknow on 24 April 1884.Before the formation of Nainital district in 1891, it was part of the Kumaon district, which was later renamed Almora district. The Town Act was implemented here in 1885 and Haldwani was declared a municipality on 1 February 1897. The Tehsil office was opened here in 1899, when it became the tehsil headquarters of the Bhabhar, one of four divisions of the Nainital district, and included 4 towns and 511 villages; and had a combined population of 93,445 (1901), spread over 1,279 sq. miles.

20th and 21st centuries

In 1901, with a population of 6,624, Haldwani was the headquarters of the Bhabhar region of Nainital District, in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, and it also used to become the winter headquarters of the officers of the Kumaon Division and the Nainital District. The Arya Samaj Bhavan was built in 1901 and Sanatan Dharm Sabha in 1902. The Municipality of Haldwani was disestablished in 1904, and Haldwani was constituted as a Notified area. The first Hospital of the city was opened in 1912.Haldwani hosted the second session of the Kumaon Parishad in 1918. Protests against the Rowlatt Act and for Coolie-Begar Abolition were held all over the city in 1920 under the leadership of Pt. Tara Datt Gairola Raibahadur. Many processions were carried out in the city between 1930 and 1934 during the Civil disobedience movement. In 1940, at the Haldwani conference, Badri Datt Pandey voiced for granting special status to the mountainous regions of Kumaon in the United Provinces, thus, giving a way to the future Uttarakhand movement. Haldwani was a mid-sized town, with a population of about 25,000, in 1947, when India became Independent from the British Rule. Haldwani became a part of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city was electrified in 1950. The 2nd battalion of the Naga Regiment, affectionately known as Head Hunters, was raised at Haldwani on 11 February 1985. Haldwani played a major role in the Uttarakhand movement. The town was spearheading the agitation, which often ended up in violence and also in police firing and brutality.40 human skeletons and 300 'grave-like structures' were discovered in Haldwani's Golapar area on 9 May 2017 during the construction of the Haldwani ISBT. The Skeletons were speculated to be the remains of the Rohilla chieftains from Bareilly who fought against the British in 1857 and were killed by the British army or of those who died of epidemics, malaria or famine. However forensic tests later revealed the Skeletons to be only two-year old.