Banasur Fort Visit
Kotalgarh, 6 km away from Lohaghat is fabled to have been the strong-hold of the arrow-demon Bana Asura (Banasur) Daitya, the son of Mahabali, who fought with Vishnu and his Suras and prevailed not though the conflict was long and doubtful. No sooner was a Daitya slain, and his blood poured on the gournd, than it produced a hundred others, so that the greater the slaughter of the enemies, the further were the gods from victory. In this difficulty, Mahakali was created, like Pandora, by general donations from the celestials, and by her were the giants at length ecterminated. Among those who fell by her hand was Kottavi, the mother of Banasur, who, with a coat of mail over her bust, and naked from the waist downwards, fought like an amazon on the battlements, which are said to derive their name from her exploits and appearance, Kotulgarh being interpreted by “the fortress, the abode of the naked woman.” The learned Pandits of Kumaon, affirm that Sui is no other than Sonitpur, “the red city”, of the Puranas, the abode fo Banasur. The peculiarities of the soil at and around Lohaghat explain the mystery. On removing the sod, in some places a blue, but far more generally a deep-red ferruginous clay is found to form the soil, and to this the people appeal as ocular demonstration of the legend : it owes its colour to nothing else than the blood of the giandts. During the rainy season, the Lahu or “blood” river is similarly discoloured, and hence the name of the place”-Lohaghat.