The culture of the present Kumaon is a blend of influences from the indigenous population as well as from the immigrants to this region. Consequently, the myths, dialects, languages, folk literature, festivals, fairs and forms of artistic expression are examples of the creative influences of the different cultural groups that constitute Kumaon.
Every peak, lake or mountain range is somehow or the other connected with some myth or the name of a God or Goddess, ranging from those associated with the Shaiva, Shakta and Vaishnava traditions, to local Gods like Haru, Saim, Golla, Chhurmal, Kail Bisht, Bholanath, Gangnath, Airy and Chaumu. The protagonists of the epic, the Pandavas, are said to have ended their life on earth by ascending the slopes of a peak in Western Garhwal called Swargarohini – literally, the 'Ascent to Heaven'. Temples are dedicated to the nine famous Goddesses, other local Goddesses, Bhairava, Surya and Ganesh. The temples at Jageshwar, Bageshwar, Binsar, Thalkedar, Rameshwar, Pancheshwar, Baijnath and Gananath are devoted to Lord Shiva. The temples of Devidhura, Haat ki Kaali in Gangolihat, Pumagiri, Almora, Nainital, Kot Ki Mai and Kotgari Devi are associated with the Shakt tradition, while the region of Lohaghat – Champawat (Mount Kandeo) is associated with Kunna Avatar. This region also has two famous Sun temples.
According to Atkinson there were 35 Vaishnava and 250 Shaiva temples in British Kumaon. Eight Vaishnava and 64 Shaiva temples were dedicated to the Shakti or female form alone.
Although Lord Shiva's influence prevailed throughout Kumaon, mainly because of its proximity to the region of Panchkedars and Kailash – Mansarovar, this did not in any way hamper the influence of the local folk Gods and Goddesses. Although the tales of Nanda Devi and Naina Devi have now been linked together, they began as two different stories.