The Garhwal Rifles

The Garhwal Rifles

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The Garhwal Rifles

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The Garhwal Rifles is a light infantry or 'rifle' regiment of the Indian Army. It was originally raised as the 39th Garhwal Rifles part of the British Indian Army on formation, and renamed on Indian independence. It served during the Frontier campaigns of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, as well in both the World Wars and the wars fought after Independence. Mainly made up of Garhwali soldiers, this regiment has a distinguished record and a unique identity. Today it is made up of more than 25,000 soldiers, organised into nineteen regular battalions (i.e. 2nd to 19th) and the Garhwal Scouts, who are stationed permanently at Joshimath. The 1st Battalion is currently being converted to a mechanised infantry unit.


Soldiers recruited into the Garhwal Rifles are from the Garhwal Hills. Garhwal consists almost entirely of rugged mountain ranges running in all directions, and separated by narrow valleys which in some cases become deep gorges or ravines.

Millions of boys have left their mountain villages of Uttarakhand in search of good jobs or a better life than in the hills. For Uttarakhandi soldiers to enlist, it has been common practice to leave the villages in the hills in search of adventure and fortune, indeed it has become a tradition in Uttarakhand, which still continues unabated. Paharis (the people "of the mountains") have always played a role in defending the frontiers of the Republic of India.Their involvement with regiments such...
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