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Uttarakhand consists of the culturally distinct Garwhal (in the west) and Kumaon (east) districts. Over the centuries various dynasties have dominated the region, including the Guptas, Kuturyi and Chand rajas. In the 18th century the Nepalese Gurkhas attacked first the kingdom of Kumaon, then Garwhal, prompting the British to step in and take most of the region as part of the Treaty of Sigauli in 1817.

After Independence the region was merged with Uttar Pradesh, but following a vocal sep­aratist movement, the present-day state of Uttaranchal was formed in 2000. In 2007 the state was officially renamed Uttarakhand, a trad­itional name meaning ‘northern country’.