Haldwani is a city, which along with its twin township of Kathgodam forms the Haldwani-Kathgodam municipal Corporation (since May 2011) in Nainital District in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Haldwani is the third most populous city in Uttarakhand, and is known as the "Gateway of Kumaon". In Kumaoni, the local dialect, the place is called "Halduvani", literally "forest (vana) of Haldu", after the tree named "Haldu", often referred to as "Kadamb" (Haldina cordifolia), which was found in abundance prior to deforestation for agriculture and settlement.
In 1816, after the British defeated Gorkhas, Gardner was appointed the Commissioner of Kumaon. Later George William Trail 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.
Eight kilometres north of Haldwani at Ranibagh is Chitrashila Ghat, the venerable Hindu cremation ground. A fair called Uttarayani (also called Ghughutiya in Kumaoni) is held here on Makar Sankranti (on 14-15 of January) every year. To the south of Haldwani lies Pantnagar famous for its Pantnagar University. The Gaula river runs to the east, and to the west is the fertile agricultural region of Lamachaur and Kaladhungi merging into the World-renowned Corbett National Park. Long in the shadow of its famous hill cousins, the Haldwani area has a lot to offer by the way of quaint villages, rolling deciduous forests and open spaces outside the urban sprawl.
Hindi is the primary languages spoken in Haldwani. Urdu is prevalent amongst the Muslim community while Punjabi is spoken by the large Sikh community settled in the town and Kumaoni people who have migrated here from hilly areas of Kumaon speakes Kumaoni. Almost all the festivals are celebrated with equal zeal and enthusiasm. The city is well decorated at the time of big festivals like Diwali Holi and Eid, also this is the time when the market is full of lucrative offers and people don't mind getting little over budget. The city has 108 emergency service and various private Hi-Tech Medical Research Centers and Hospitals that provide the world class trauma and emergency facilities including 24*7 air ambulance.
Culture, Sub Culture & Lifestyle:
Since Haldwani is termed as the "Gateway of Kumaon" the region is dominated by Kumaoni people but still it is home to a significant percentage of people belonging to other religions and regions. Because of the dominance of Kumoani culture, Kumoani craftwork is usually visible in all aspects of Haldwani. Rock and popular English music is finding a good market in the rapidly expanding music market along with traditional Pahadi music of the state. Drinking is not considered a taboo anymore, given that the person doesn't drink in noon time, and is busy with his own job. All types of National holidays are observed in the city with full joy. Haldwani is said to be a "Great city shadowed by Nainital". Haldwani at all geo-political bases is always above Nainital town which is the District centre.
Well connected with the Indo-Gangetic plain by road (to New Delhi, Dehradun and Lucknow) and rail (New Delhi, DehraDun, Lucknow and Agra), Haldwani is an important commercial hub. It is home to one of the largest vegetable, fruit and foodgrain markets in Kumaon. Being the gateway to most of Kumaon and parts of Garhwal, it is an important revenue center of Uttarakhand based on its advantageous location as a base depot for goods in transit to the hills. The Gaula river is exploited for a large quantity of boulders, sand and gravels every year, and forms an important revenue source for both the government and local business.
Some local delicacies are Gajar Ka Halwa, Haleem, Nahari, Paye, Kabab, Biryani, Faluda, Kulfi, Gajak, Bal Mithai ("Chocolate" Mithai), Bhatt ka joula, Muli ka thechua, Kakdi raee ka raita, Gathi, Gaderi ki sabzi, Gauhat ki daal, Lason ka lur, Ras Bhat, Jholi Bhat, Bathue ka Paratha, Madwe ki roti, Bhatt ki churkani, Bari bhat, Bhang ki chatny, Kaapa Bhaat, Churkani, Dhai ka Jaula, Papad Ki Sabzi, Peenalu Ki Sabzi, Allu Gutuk, Chanda Devi aur Saladi ka Raita, Pinalu Gutuk, Tinar, Lai ka saag, Malta (fruit), Kafhal (fruit), Mango (fruit), Aadoo/Peach (fruit), Khumani/Apricot (fruit), Pulam/Plum (fruit), Leechi (fruit), Jambul (black plum/Portuguese plum), Bhutwa - A Spicy delicacy prepared of Mutton Offal (Kidneys/Lungs/Brain/Intestines/Heart) & spices/herbs.
Local people here have a great taste for food, the place is famous for a wide variety of sweets and various multinational cuisines specially Chinese. Also there are many restaurants that serve range of various Indian cuisines.One can easily find the famous Indian snacks on road side stalls and restaurants anywhere round the corner of the city,which are also the main points for youth and families to gathers for food and fun.
Haldwani is well connected to the country's capital Delhi via road and rail. Regular buses are available from Delhi which takes around 6-7 Hrs to reach Haldwani. Some luxury buses including Volvo are also available but they have fix timing. All the buses leave from the Haldwani Bus Station for Delhi's Anand Vihar ISBT. Railway is another mode of transportation available for travelling between Haldwani and Delhi. Haldwani & Kathgodam are two railway stations. Ranikhet Express, Sampark Kranti & Anand-Vihar-Kathgodam Shatabdi Express are some other trains available. There are other seasonal trains too. The nearest airport is Pantnagar Airport but one rarely gets any passenger flights. The national highways to Rampur and Haridwar have since widened and strengthened, so the road-route is now comfortable. A new I.S.B.T is to come up in Golapar area. The connectivity to state capital Dehradun is also good. There are a number of buses for Dehradun-Haldwani route. People earnestly demand shorter rail-track via Kashipur-Najibabad instead of via Rampur.