Bageshwar district, a part of the Kumaon division is a district of the Uttarakhand state with its administrative headquarters located at Bageshwar town. The district got its name from its headquarters town. There is an interesting mythological story associated with the name of the place, Bageshwar. According to the sacred Skanda Purana, the famous sage Basistha was following the directions of Lord Brahma and bringing the pious River Saryu through the mountain. But on the way they found Sage Markendaya meditating at a particular spot through where the river was supposed to flow. At that moment the sage Basistha felt helplessness and started to pray Lord Shiva for help. At last Lord Shiva heard his prayer and came to the place in the form of a lion or ‘byaghra’ (in Hindi) and at the same time goddess Parvati came there in the form of a cow or ‘gau’. The byaghra attacked the gau which made the gau cry out aloud. This pathetic cry of the gau compelled the sage Markendaya to stop his meditation and open his eyes. Then he saw the scene and got up to help the gau. The moment sage left the spot; River Saryu got the chance to flow down. Later Lord Shiva, who was there in the form of the byaghra explained the whole scene to sage Markendaya. During that period of time the place was popularly known as Bagreshwar but with the passage of time the name of the place was changed to Bageshwar. After India got its independence in 1947, Bageshwar was a part of the Almora district. It was a part of the Kanda development block, which was after sometime converted into Bageshwar development block. Finally, on 15th September, 1997 the place of Bageshwar was carved out of Almora district by then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and emerged as a separate district with its Headquarter located at Bageshwar. On 9th November, 2000, Bageshwar came in the Uttarakhand State that was formed from the Himalayan and adjoining northwestern districts of Uttar Pradesh state.
Geographically, the district lies at 29°84'N latitude, 79°78'E longitude and 1004 m altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 56.34% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 2,241 sq km. and it is bounded by Chamoli district on the North, Pithoragarh district on the South East and East and Almora district on the South West and West. The climate of the district remains pleasant throughout the year. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1528.0 mm in the year of 2019-20.
Administration wise, the district comprises 4 sub-districts, 1 town and 947 villages. The administrative language in the district is Hindi.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 2,59,898 out of which 1,24,326 are males and 1,35,572 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 1090 (females for every 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 4.18% including 4.91% were males and 3.53% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 99.08% of the total population. The population density in the district is 116 persons per sq. km. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Hindi with 98.84%. In the year 2018 the number of live births in the district was 2,895 including 1,488 were males and 1,407 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 503 including 306 were males and 197 were females.
The economy of the district is mainly dependent on agriculture. Most of the lands in the district are use for agricultural purposes. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in the district are rice, pulses, barley, maize, etc. The adoption of the new agricultural technologies amongst the farmers of the district helps to increase the production of various agricultural items. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from the agricultural products in the district helps in its economy to a great extent. The district is scantily industrialised. In the year 2016-17 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 3,26,782 lakh at current price and Rs. 2,59,799 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2016-17 was Rs. 5,37,444 lakh at current price and Rs. 4,35,230 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2016-17 was Rs. 1,00,117 at current price and Rs. 78,547 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district is well known as an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 80.01% including 92.33% are males and 69.03% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 1,79,483 out of which 97,546 are males and 81,937 are females.
Bhagat Singh Koshyari, a veteran Indian politician who served as the second Chief Minister of Uttarakhand from 2001 to 2002 was born on 17th June, 1942 at Palanadhura Chetabgarh in the Bageshwar district. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Bagnath Temple, located at the meeting point of the rivers of Gomti and Saryu in the district is the shrine of Bageswar or Vyagreswar, the "Tiger Lord", an epithet of Lord Siva. Laxmi Chand, a Kumaun king constructed this temple about 1450 A.D. back. This place has a cluster of temples which includes the Bairav temple, Dattatrey Maharaj, Ganga Mai temple, Hanuman temple, Durga temple, Kalika temple, Thingal Bhirav temple, Panchnam Junakhara and Vaneshwar temple. Chandika temple, located at a distance of almost half a kilometre from the Bageshwar town is a beautiful temple dedicated to Goddess Chandika. Pilgrims from far off places come to this temple every year on the occasion of the Navratras. Gauri Udiyar, situated about 8 km. away from the Bageshwer town is a large cave which has a number of the idols of Lord Shiva. Some other places of interest in the district are Sundardunga Glacier, Durgakot Glacier, Nanda Kund, Devikund, Kafni Glacier, Amitji Ashram, etc.