Uttaranchal: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Location of Uttarakhand in India
Coordinates 30°20′N 78°04′E / 30.33°N 78.06°E / 30.33; 78.06
Country  India
District(s) 13
Established 9 November 2000
Capital Dehradun
Largest city Dehradun
Governor Margaret Alva
Chief Minister Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal
Legislature (seats) Unicameral (71)
8479562 (19th)
158 /km2 (409 /sq mi)
Literacy 72%%
Official languages Hindi, Kumaoni,Garhwali, Sanskrit[1]
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area 53566 km2 (20682 sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 IN-UL
Website ua.nic.in
Seal of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand (Hindi: उत्तराखण्ड Uttarākhanḍ) is a state located in the northern part of India. It was carved out of Himalayan and adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh on 9 November 2000, becoming the 27th state of the Republic of India.[2] It borders Tibet on the north, Nepal on the east, the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south, Haryana on the west and Himachal Pradesh on the north west.

The region is traditionally referred to as Uttarakhanda in Hindu scriptures and old literature, a term which derives from Sanskrit uttara (उत्तर) meaning north, and khaṇḍa (खण्ड) meaning country or part of a country. It has an area of 20,682 sq mi (53,566 km²).

In January 2007, the name of the state was officially changed from Uttaranchal, its interim name, to Uttarakhand. The provisional capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun which is also a rail-head and the largest city in the region. The small hamlet of Gairsen has been mooted as the future capital owing to its geographic centrality but controversies and lack of resources have led Dehradun to remain provisional capital. The High Court of the state is in Nainital.

Recent developments in the region include initiatives by the state government to capitalise on handloom and handicrafts, the burgeoning tourist trade as well as tax incentives to lure high-tech industry to the state. The state also has big-dam projects, controversial and often criticised in India, such as the very large Tehri dam on the Bhagirathi-Bhilangana rivers, conceived in 1953 and about to reach completion.[3] Uttarakhand is also well known as the birthplace of the Chipko environmental movement,[4] and a myriad other social movements including the mass agitation in the 1990s that led to its formation.



Prince Bhagirath in penance for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors.

Literally North Country or Section in Sanskrit, the name of Uttarakhand finds mention in the early Hindu scriptures as the combined region of Kedarkhand (present day Garhwal) and Manaskhand (present day Kumaon). Uttarakhand was also the ancient Puranic term for the central stretch of the Indian Himalayas. Today, it is sometimes called "Land of the Gods" (Dev Bhoomi) because of the presence of a multitude of Hindu pilgrimage spots. The Pauravas, Kushanas, Kunindas, Guptas, Katyuris, Raikas, Palas, the Chands, and Parmaras or Panwars and the British have ruled Uttarakhand in turns.[5]

The historical temples at Jageshwar, preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The region was originally settled by Kols, an aboriginal people of the austro-asiatic physical type who were later joined by Indo-Aryan Khas tribes that arrived from the northwest by the Vedic period. At that time, present-day Uttarakhand also served as a haunt for Rishis and Sadhus. It is believed that Sage Vyasa scripted the Mahabharata here as the Pandavas are believed to have traveled and camped in the region. Among the first major dynasties of Garhwal and Kumaon were the Kunindas in the 2nd century B.C. who practiced an early form of Shaivism. They traded salt with Western Tibet. It is evident from the Ashokan edict at Kalsi in Western Garhwal that Buddhism made inroads in this region. Folk shamanic practices deviating from Hindu orthodoxy also persisted here. However, Garhwal and Kumaon were restored to nominal Brahmanical rule due to the travails of Shankaracharya and the arrival of migrants from the plains. Between the 4th and 14th centuries, the Katyuri dynasty of Khas origin dominated lands of varying extent from the Katyur (modern day Baijnath) valley in Kumaon. The historically significant temples at Jageshwar are believed to have been built by the Katyuris and later remodeled by the Chands. Other peoples of the Tibeto-Burman group known as Kiratas are thought to have settled in the northern highlands as well as in pockets throughout the region, and believed to be the ancestors to the modern day Bhotiya, Raji, Buksha, and Tharu peoples.[6]

Uttarakhand as a part of the United Province, 1903.

By the medieval period, the region was consolidated under the Garhwal Kingdom in the west and the Kumaon Kingdom in the east. From the 13th-18th century, Kumaon prospered under the Chand Rajas who had their origins in the plains of India. During this period, learning and new forms of painting (the Pahari school of art) developed.[7] Modern-day Garhwal was likewise unified under the rule of Parmar/Panwar Rajas, who along with a mass migration of Brahmins and Rajputs, also arrived from the plains.[8] In 1791, the expanding Gurkha Empire of Nepal, overran Almora, the seat of the Kumaon Kingdom. In 1803, the Garhwal Kingdom also fell to the Gurkhas. With the conclusion of the Anglo-Nepalese War in 1816, a rump portion of the Garhwal Kingdom was reestablished from Tehri, and eastern British Garhwal and Kumaon ceded to the British as part of the Treaty of Sugauli.

In the post-independence period, the Tehri princely state was merged into Uttar Pradesh state, where Uttarakhand composed the Garhwal and Kumaon Divisions.[9] Until 1998, Uttarakhand was the name most commonly used to refer to the region, as various political groups including most significantly the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (Uttarakhand Revolutionary Party est. 1979), began agitating for separate statehood under its banner. Although the erstwhile hill kingdoms of Garhwal and Kumaon were traditional rivals with diverse lingual and cultural influences due to the proximity of different neighbouring ethnic groups, the inseparable and complementary nature of their geography, economy, culture, language, and traditions created strong bonds between the two regions.[10] These bonds formed the basis of the new political identity of Uttarakhand, which gained significant momentum in 1994, when demand for separate statehood (within the Union of India) achieved almost unanimous acceptance among the local populace as well as political parties at the national level.[11] Most notable incident during this period was the Rampur Tiraha firing case on the night of 1 October 1994, which led to public uproar [12]. On September 24, 1998 Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed the 'Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Bill', 1998, which eventually led to the creation of the state [13], eventually the Parliament passed the Indian Federal Legislation - Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2000, and thus on 9 November, 2000,[14] Uttarakhand became the 27th state in the Republic of India.

However, the term Uttaranchal came into use when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central and Uttar Pradesh state governments initiated a new round of state reorganization in 1998 and introduced its preferred name. Chosen for its allegedly less separatist connotations, the name change generated enormous controversy among the rank and file of the separate state activists who saw it as a political act [15], however they were not quite as successful as Jharkhand state that successfully thwarted a similar move to impose the name Vananchal. Nevertheless, the name Uttarakhand remained popular in the region, even while Uttaranchal was promulgated through official usage.

In August 2006, India's Union Cabinet assented to the four-year-old demand of the Uttaranchal state assembly and leading members of the Uttarakhand movement to rename Uttaranchal state as Uttarakhand. Legislation to that effect was passed by the State Legislative Assembly in October 2006,[16] and the Union Cabinet brought in the bill in the winter session of Parliament. The bill was passed by Parliament and signed into law by the President in December 2006. Since then, Uttarakhand denotes a state in the Union of India.


According to 2001 India census, Uttarakhand had a population of approximately of 8.48 million. A population exceeding 10 million is expected by the next census of 2011. The native people of Uttarakhand are generally called either Kumaoni or Garhwali depending on their place of origin in either the Garhwal or Kumaon region.Another well known category is Gujjar, cattle herders in the southwestern Terai.

Kumaoni and Garhwali dialects of Central Pahari are spoken in Kumaon and Garhwal region respectively. Jaunsari and Bhotiya dialects are also spoken by tribal communities in the west and north respectively. The urban population however converses mostly in Hindi.

Hindus form the majority of the population at 85.0%, Muslims form 10.5%, Sikhs 2.5% and Christians, Buddhists, Jains and others about 0.5%. It has male-female ratio of .964 and has a literacy rate of 72%. The largest cities in the state include Dehradun (530,263), Haridwar (220,767), Haldwani (158,896), Roorkee (115,278) and Rudrapur (88,720). The state government recognizes 15,620 villages and 81 cities and urban areas.

Historians of Kumaun and Garhwal say that in the beginning there were only three casts Rajput, Brahmin and Shilpkar. Main occupation of Rajput were jamindari and law enforcement. Occupation of Brahmins were to perform religious rituals in temples and religious occasions. Shilpkar were mainly working for rajputs, in their lands and were expert in handcrafts. We can still see that surnames of these origin people are associated with the name of village like Bahuguna from Bahugani and Pandey from Pandeygaon. Surname doesn't exactly tells about the cast of Uttarakhandi people. Like two famous surnames Bisht and Bhandari are used by both Rajputs and Brahmins.


Nanda Devi is the second-highest mountain in India.

Uttarakhand has a total geographic area of 51,125 km², of which 93% is mountainous and 64% is covered by forest. Most of the northern parts of the state are part of Greater Himalaya ranges, covered by the high Himalayan peaks and glaciers, while the lower foothills were densely forested till denuded by the British log merchants and later, after independence, by forest contractors. Recent efforts in reforestation, however, have been successful in restoring the situation to some extent. The unique Himalayan ecosystem plays host to a large number of animals (including bharal, snow leopards, leopards and tigers), plants and rare herbs. Two of India's mightiest rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna take birth in the glaciers of Uttarakhand, and are fed by myriad lakes, glacial melts and streams in the region.[18]

Uttarakhand lies on the south slope of the Himalaya range, and the climate and vegetation vary greatly with elevation, from glaciers at the highest elevations to subtropical forests at the lower elevations. The highest elevations are covered by ice and bare rock. Below them, between 3,000 and 5,000 metres (9,800 and 16,000 ft) are montane grasslands and shrublands: the western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows. Temperate coniferous forests, the western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests, grow just below the tree line. At 3,000 to 2,600 metres (9,800 to 8,500 ft) elevation they transition to the temperate western Himalayan broadleaf forests, which lie in a belt from 2,600 to 1,500 metres (8,500 to 4,900 ft) elevation. Below 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) elevation lie the Himalayan subtropical pine forests. The Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests and the drier Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands cover the lowlands along the Uttar Pradesh border. This belt is locally known as Bhabhar. These lowland forests have mostly been cleared for agriculture, but a few pockets remain.[19]

Indian National Parks in Uttarakhand include the Jim Corbett National Park (the oldest national park of India) at Ramnagar in Nainital District, Valley of Flowers National Park and Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli District, which together are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Rajaji National Park in Haridwar District, and Govind Pashu Vihar National Park and Gangotri National Park in Uttarkashi District.

Government and politics

The present Chief Minister of Government of Uttarakhand is Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal.He was appointed as the fifth Chief Minister of Uttarakhand by Governor B. L. Joshi on 27 June 2009. The last state elections in Uttarakhand were held on 21 February 2007. The Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the largest party with 34 seats in the 70-seat Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly. One seat short of forming a majority, the BJP have had to rely on support from the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal and three independents to form the government. The Indian National Congress is the official opposition, holding 21 seats.


Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand


There are 13 districts in Uttarakhand which are grouped into two divisions. Kumaon division and Garhwal division

The Kumaon division includes six districts.

The Garhwal division includes seven districts.

Important cities


Evening prayers at Har-ki-pauri (known for a footprint of Vishnu on a stone in a wall) in Haridwar

Uttarakhand's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $6 billion in current prices. Born out of partition of Uttar Pradesh, the new state of Uttarakhand produces about 8% of the output of the old Uttar Pradesh state. Consolidated Finvest and Holdings, a S&P CNX 500 conglomerate has its corporate office in Uttarakhand. It reported a gross income of Rs.137 million for 2005.[citation needed]

In 2003, a new industrial policy for the state with generous tax benefits for investors was initiated that has led to a massive upsurge of capital investment. SIDCUL, the State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttaranchal (sic) has established seven industrial estates in the southern periphery of the state, while dozens of hydroelectric dams are being built in the upper reaches. However, hill development remains an uphill challenge as out migration of local peoples continues from the highland hinterlands.


Uttarakhand is well connected with Rail, Road and Air modes of transport



Chota Char Dham

Kedarnathji-mandir.JPGBadrinathji temple.JPGGangotri temple.jpgYamunotri temple and ashram.jpg


Leisure, adventure, and religious tourism play a prominent role in Uttarakhand's economy, with the Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve and the nearby hill-stations of Nainital, Mussoorie, Almora, Kausani, Bhimtal and Ranikhet being amongst the most frequented destinations of India. The state also contains numerous peaks of interest to mountaineers, although Nanda Devi, the highest and best-known of these, has been off-limits since 1982. Other national wonders include the Valley of Flowers, which along with Nanda Devi National Park, form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

To Uttarakhand, long called "abode of the gods" (Devbhumi), belong some of the holiest Hindu shrines, and for more than a thousand years, pilgrims have been visiting the region in the hopes of salvation and purification from sin. Gangotri and Yamunotri, the sources of both the Ganges and Yamuna fall in the upper reaches of the state and together with Badrinath (dedicated to Vishnu) and Kedarnath (dedicated to Shiva) form the Chota Char Dham of Uttarakhand, one of Hinduism most spiritually auspicious pilgrimage circuits. Rishikesh near Haridwar is known as the preeminent yoga centre of India, which along with Haridwar is an important Hindu pilgrimage. Haridwar hosts the Kumbha Mela every twelve years, in which millions of pilgrims take part from all parts of the India and the world. The state has an abundance of temples and shrines, many dedicated to local deities or manifestations of Shiva and Durga, references to many of which can be found in Hindu scriptures and legends.[20] The architecture of most of these temples is typical of the region and slightly different from other parts of India. The ancient temples at Jageshwar (a complex of 124 temples in a deodar woodland) are historically the most prominent for their distinct architectural features. Uttarakhand is, however, a place of pilgrimage not only for the Hindus. Hemkund nested in the Himalayas is a prime pilgrimage center for the Sikhs. Tibetan Buddhism has also made itself felt with the recent reconstruction of Mindroling Monastery and its Buddha Stupa, touted as the world's highest[21], southwest of Dehradun.

The state has always been a destination for mountaineering, hiking and rock climbing in India. A recent development in adventure tourism in the region has been white water rafting and other adventures sports. Eco tourism, agritourism and rural tourism have also found new grounds in many villages of the state.


Uttarakhand has educational institutions of major importance to India and the world. It is home to one of the oldest engineering colleges in Asia, the Indian Institute of Technology at Roorkee (formerly University of Roorkee)and Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology in Pantnagar.Other universities and institutes of prime importance include, Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, ICFAI University in Dehradun , Forest Research Institute in Dehradun, Gyani Inder Singh Institute of Professional Studies,Dehradun Institute of Technology,Govind Ballabh Pant Engineering College in Pauri, Amrapali Institute in Haldwani, Omkarananda Institute of Management and Technology, Rishikesh and Kumaon Engineering College, Dwarahat.

Uttarakhand is home to several reputed day and boarding schools including St. Joseph's College (Nainital), Welham Girls' School (Dehradun),Welham Boys' School (Dehradun),the Doon School (Dehradun), ST. Thomas college(Dehradun), St. Joseph Academy (Dehradun), Woodstock School (Mussoorie), Birla Vidya Niketan (Nainital), Sainik School Ghorakhal near Bhowali, Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) at Dehradun, The Asian School (Dehradun),The Heritage School(Dehradun), G D Birla Memorial School(Ranikhet), Selaqui World School (Dehradun) and Sherwood College (Nainital). Several Indian luminaries attended these schools including former prime ministers and film stars.

Historically, Uttarakhand is believed to be the land where the Vedas and the Shastras were composed and the great epic, the Mahabharata, was written. Rishikesh is widely considered the Yoga capital of the world.


Garhwal and Kumaun Universities were founded in 1973 as part of the upsurge of regional sentiment that led to the Uttarakhand statehood. The most famous universities of Uttarakhand are:

See also


  1. ^ "Sanskrit made second official language" (html). http://www.garhwalpost.com/index.php?mod=article&cat=Uttarakhand&article=5051. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  2. ^ Uttarakhand Govt. of India, Official website.
  3. ^ Yadav, K. P. S. (2002). Going Under : Tehri prepares for a watery grave as the controversial dam becomes a grim reality. Its residents are in mourning, their grief compounded by an uncertain future. Down To Earth, 10(16), 20.
  4. ^ Guha, R. (2000). The unquiet woods : ecological change and peasant resistance in the Himalaya (Expanded ed.). Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.
  5. ^ Kandari, O. P., & Gusain, O. P. (Eds.). (2001). Garhwal Himalaya : Nature, Culture & Society. Srinagar, Garhwal: Transmedia.
  6. ^ Saklani, D. P. (1998). Ancient communities of the Himalaya. New Delhi: Indus Pub. Co.
  7. ^ Pande, B. D. (1993). History of Kumaun : English version of "Kumaun ka itihas". Almora, U.P., India: Shyam Prakashan : Shree Almora Book Depot.
  8. ^ Rawat, A. S. (1989). History of Garhwal, 1358-1947: an erstwhile kingdom in the Himalayas. New Delhi: Indus Pub. Co.
  9. ^ Saklani, A. (1987). The history of a Himalayan princely state : change, conflicts and awakening : an interpretative history of princely state of Tehri Garhwal, U.P., A.D. 1815 to 1949 A.D (1st ed.). Delhi: Durga Publications.
  10. ^ Aggarwal, J. C., Agrawal, S. P., & Gupta, S. S. (Eds.). (1995). Uttarakhand: past, present, and future. New Delhi: Concept Pub. Co.
  11. ^ Kumar, P. (2000). The Uttarakhand Movement: Construction of a Regional Identity. New Delhi: Kanishka Publishers.
  12. ^ Rampur Tiraha firing The Times of India, 31 Jul 2003.
  13. ^ Reorganisation Bill passed by UP Govt The Indian Express, September 24, 1998.
  14. ^ Uttarakhand Govt. of India, Official website.
  15. ^ Negi, B. (2001). "Round One to the Lobbyists, Politicians and Bureaucrats." Indian Express, January 2.
  16. ^ UNI. (2006). "Uttaranchal becomes Uttarakhand." Tribune (India), October 12.
  17. ^ "Census Population" (PDF). Census of India. Ministry of Finance India. http://indiabudget.nic.in/es2006-07/chapt2007/tab97.pdf. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  18. ^ Negi, S. S. (1991). Himalayan rivers, lakes, and glaciers. New Delhi: Indus Pub. Co.
  19. ^ Negi, S. S. (1995). Uttarakhand: land and people. New Delhi: MD Pub.
  20. ^ Dilwali, A., & Pant, P. (1987). The Garhwal Himalayas, ramparts of heaven. New Delhi: Lustre Press.
  21. ^ PTI. (2002). "Dalai Lama Inaugurates World's Highest Stupa." October 28.

Further reading

State symbols
State animal Musk Deer
State bird Monal
State tree Rhododendron
State flower Brahma Kamal
  • Umachand Handa (2002). History of Uttaranchal. Indus Publishing. ISBN 8173871345. Excerpts
  • Husain, Z. (1995). Uttarakhand movement: the politics of identity and frustration, a psycho-analytical study of the separate state movement, 1815-1995. Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot. ISBN 8185897174
  • Śarmā, D. (1989). Tibeto-Himalayan languages of Uttarakhand. Studies in Tibeto-Himalayan languages, 3. New Delhi, India: Mittal Publications. ISBN 8170991714
  • Fonia, K. S. (1987). Uttarakhand, the land of jungles, temples, and snows. New Delhi, India: Lancer Books.
  • Mukhopadhyay, R. (1987). Uttarakhand movement a sociological analysis. Centre for Himalayan Studies special lecture, 8. Raja Rammohunpur, Dt. Darjeeling: University of North Bengal.
  • Uma Prasad Thapliyal (2005). Uttaranchal: Historical and cultural perspectives. B.R. Pub. Corp.,. ISBN 8176464635.
  • Nationalistic part of Greater Nepal Region
  • Vijaypal Singh Negi, Jawahernagar,Post -Agastyamuni,Dist.- Rudraprayag, The Great HimalaysPublication Date- 1998,

Alok Aswal,dehradun

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Uttarakhand article)

From Wikitravel

Asia : South Asia : India : Himalayan North : Uttarakhand
View of Nanda Devi massif and Nanda Devi East from near Almora.
View of Nanda Devi massif and Nanda Devi East from near Almora.

Uttarakhand [1], until 2007 known as Uttaranchal, is a stunningly beautiful state in the Himalayan North of India. It is broken up into a western part, named "Garhwal", and an eastern part named "Kumaon". Garhwal is more easily accessed.


Two main regions of Uttarakhand are :

Each region has its own distinct culture and language.

A view of the Ganges flowing through Rishikesh.
A view of the Ganges flowing through Rishikesh.
Meadows & Clouds at Chopta.
Meadows & Clouds at Chopta.
Camps at Har Ki Dun Valley,Uttarkashi.
Camps at Har Ki Dun Valley,Uttarkashi.
Highest Shiva Temple,Tungnath/Chopta, built by Pandavs/Adi Shankaracharya.
Highest Shiva Temple,Tungnath/Chopta, built by Pandavs/Adi Shankaracharya.
Pauri Town.
Pauri Town.
Pauri at dawn, Himalayas as the last upper ridge in the background.
Pauri at dawn, Himalayas as the last upper ridge in the background.
Dunagiri. Experience Serenity, Divinity, Eternity.
Dunagiri. Experience Serenity, Divinity, Eternity.
Panwali Bugyal, enroute Gangotri-Kedarnath.
Panwali Bugyal, enroute Gangotri-Kedarnath.
Himalayas near Ukhimath,Rudraprayag.
Himalayas near Ukhimath,Rudraprayag.
Kedarnath & Neelkanth peaks from Ukhimath, Rudraprayag.
Kedarnath & Neelkanth peaks from Ukhimath, Rudraprayag.
Chamba Town & Valley, near Mussoorie.
Chamba Town & Valley, near Mussoorie.
  • Dehradun - the capital, called "Oxford of India" known for boarding schools - Doon School, has Indian Military Academy, Survey of India and ONGC headquarters, Forest Research Institute, Rajaji National Park & lots of other beautiful picnic places & many Govt./ Educational Institutions.
  • Almora - a hill station
  • Bedni Bugyal - another beautiful bugyal in Chamoli District, providing breath taking views of Trishul & Nanada Devi peaks.
  • Chamba - near to Mussoorie, provides a great view of Chamba Valley & the Bhagirathi River (The Ganga). It's a paradise for nature lovers, as it's surrounded by Alpine forests. It's proximity to Dehradun, Rishikesh & Tehri Dam is a great plus.
  • Chopta - It's in Rudraprayag, also known as "Switzerland of Garhwal" for it's beautiful meadows. It has the highest Shiva temple in the world - Tungnath and from Chandrashila (4300 m/14,107 ft) one can get the most panoramic view of the Central Himalayas.
  • Dayara Bugyal - a beautiful bugyal in Uttarkashi District. A world class ski resort is coming up there.
  • Ghangaria
  • Gwaldam - it's a beautiful hamlet in the Chamoli District, one can get close up views of Trishul & Nanda Devi peaks, it's a base camp for Roopkund & Bedni Bugyal (meadows).
  • Haridwar - holy city on the Ganges and one of the sites of Kumbh Mela, the world's largest festival
  • Harshil - a real paradise on the earth, on the way to Gangotri.
  • Hemkund
  • Kotdwar - is a developing town. Famous kanvashram is situated here which is linked to the story of shakuntala and Dushyant.
  • Jageshwar - temple town
  • Joshimath - gateway to Badrinath, valley of flowers, Hemkund and the ski resort of Auli
  • Lansdowne - a beautiful hill station, there's Garhwal Rifles Headquarters.
  • Mukteshwar
  • Munsyari, Pithoragarh - Paradise on earth
  • Mussoorie - hill station, also known as "The Queen of Hills". It provides panoramic views of both the Himalayas & Doon valley.
  • Nainital - hill station; The Lake District
  • Pauri - a hill station, it commands 180 degree view of the Central Himalayas, from Kandolia one can see all the known & unknown peaks of the Himalayas, plus a beautiful valley on the other side. The sunset here is mesmerizing. There are lots of temples here, the known one is Kunkaleshwar temple dedicated to lord Shiva, established by Adi Shankaracharya (who had established the char dham of Sanatan Dharm).
  • Panwali Bugyal - One of the most beautiful bugyals (meadows). It's in Tehri District, on the trek from Gangotri to Kedarnath.
  • Pithoragarh
  • Rishikesh - the Yoga capital of the world, the biggest agglomeration of ashrams, meditation centers and temples. It is famous for its lakshman and ram jhula also.Sachcha Dham, ashram of Sachcha Baba is near lakshman jhula. Also there is Neelkanth Mahadev temple few kms from Rishikesh.
  • Roorkee - the education capital of Uttarakhand. One of the seven Indian Institutes of Technology is located here.
  • Ranikhet-is a wonderful town to see.
  • Uttarkashi - the valley of saints


The local languages are Kumaoni and Garhwali, but everyone also speaks Hindi. English is not so common, but well-understood and spoken in some parts.

Get in

There are many ways to enter Uttrakhand. If you are interested in seeing the Garhwal region you can enter through either Haridwar or Kotdwar. Haridwar is the more popular entrance. For both options there are regular bus and train services available from New Delhi.


Nainital, Mussoorie and Ranikhet though it's better to treat these slightly overcrowded, touristy 'hill stations' as base camps to explore lots of other hidden jewels further afield in UK. In Garhwal, Pauri and Gwaldam there are very peaceful & scenic places. In the Kumaon region if are near Almora and want to stay in a secluded area, try Peora or Mukteshwar. Dunagiri in Almora district is a stunningly beautiful area off the beaten track. But do remember in Uttarakhand the journey itself is destination.


Bhowali is situated at a distance of 11kms, from Nainital, at an altitude of 1706 mts, from the level of sea. This place provides a panoramic view of the nature. This place if famous for its panoramic view as well as hill fruit mart, which was established in 1912.

Dunagiri: Very few places are left on our planet where we can enjoy nature experiences in such pristine, tranquil and calm environment amidst ancient forests. A spot of stunning natural splendor, being one with nature is easy to do at Dunagiri Nature Retreat. Its greatness lies not merely in its fascinating history and captivating beauty, it is rather the serene and spiritual atmosphere of this place that strikes the mind and brings peace to the soul. Known by various names such as Drongiri, Dronagiri and Doonagiri - a visit to Dunagiri is a holiday like no other; it is a journey into the innermost recesses of the soul, a re-discovery of the essence of being.

Rajaji National Park: Rajaji National park always attracts to wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. This place is located around 208km from Delhi and around 9 km from Haridwar. This park remains open from November to June for the tourists.

Badrinath Temple: This beautiful temple is located near to Alaknanda River, at an altitude of 3133 meters above from the sea level. This temple is dedicated to the Lord Vishnu.

Dehradun: Dehradun is the capital city of the Uttaranchal state. This is one of the oldest cities of India, located in mountain range of Himalayan. This city is also termed as the “Oxford of India”, as it is best known educational centres of India.



"Hotel Ganga Kinare (237, Virbhadra Road, Rishikesh, India, +911146223300, uhl@uttrakhandhotels.com)is the best located hotel in Rishikesh ( http://wikimapia.org/313600/Hotel-Ganga-Kinare ). The hotel is located along the right bank of the Ganga and overlooks the picturesque Rajaji National Park. Hotel Ganga Kinare has played host to the internationally renowned International Yoga Week on 9 occasions and has played a huge role in spreading the popularity of rishikesh as the most important Yoga destination globally. Its list of clientele includes various heads of states, international personalities and celebrities from both within India and internationally.

The hotel has two beautifully landscaped lawns - Ganga Vatika and Sadhna. These lawns are liked most by the Yoga Groups for their morning sessions and for spiritual lectures and programs. The property also boasts of probably one of "the most idyllic coffee shop - Rangoli - anywhere in the world". Sitting on the deck gives one a feeling of moving on water as the river flows below it. The Hotel also has a Machan, a place on the bank of river Ganga overlooking a beauty of nature, where in-house guests can have small gatherings, right in the lap of nature.

Hotel Ganga Kinare also has the Ganga Devi Temple situated on its private ghat where an in-house Pujari is available for private pujas and rituals. Daily Ganga Aarti in the morning and evening is performed. A special Aarti for Guests is also arranged on request in advance. Hotel has a PRIVATE GHAT for bathing and holy dip in the river Ganga, Private Bathrooms and Changing rooms at Ghat for those who want absolute privacy, bath towels and Gowns available on request."


Uttarakhand is a great place for trekking. At the lower levels, there are forests and wildlife. At the upper reaches, you go past the tree line to snow clad mountains. There are many trip designs which can be conceived of, but there are perhaps around 20 trips which are the most popular. See also: Leave-no-trace camping and Wilderness backpacking

  • Roopkund Trek - Bedni Bugyal, Chamoli District - one of the most popular treks. Roop kund also known as Mystery Lake is a clear water Himalayan lake. Roopkund starts from Debal. This beautiful lake is surrounded by majestic Himalayan peaks covered with snow and glaciers.
  • Panwali Bugyal Trek, Tehri District - it leads to Triguninarayan, a place where the eternal flame of Shiva & Sati's (Parvati's previous incarnation) marriage is still kindling
  • Gangotri Glacier Trek - Tapovan (meditation ground of Gods), Gaumukh (source of Ganga)& Shivling Mountain
  • Satopanth Trek - near Badrinath, one of the most pristine treks
  • Pindari glacier trip
  • Chandrashila Trek, Chopta - Chandrashila commands the most beautiful view of the Himalayas in the whole region, especially Chaukhamba & Nanda Devi. There's one of the Panch Kedars - Tungnath's temple - the highest temple of Shiva
  • Madmaheshwar Trek, near Ukhimath, Rudraprayag - one of the most beautiful treks leading to a Panch Kedar, it's at the base of Chaukhamba Peak (7300 m/23,950 ft).
  • Kuari Pass Trek - near Auli, quite popular with foreign tourists
  • Khatling Glacier, near Gangotri
  • Valley of Flowers Trek, near Badrinath - the most beautiful valley
  • Har ki doon - very scenic trek, near to Swargrohini peak, from where Pandavas went to the heaven.
  • Trekking inside Nanda Devi Sanctuary
  • Sunder dhunga trek
  • Thailisan - Binsar Trek in Pauri, an uplifting trek, providing panoramic view of Himalayas
  • Milam glacier trek
  • Kafni glacier trek
  • Kalindni Pass Trek - Gangotri to Badrinath - a lifetime dream for many an adventurer.
  • Deoriatal Trek- Deoriatal Trek is one of the famous trekking destinations in Himachal Pradesh. Trekking can be done for entire year in Deoriatal. Tungnath is the highest temple in the Himalayas and Chandrasilla summit Deoriatal a rock face above the face of the Tungnath.


Pretty much all kinds of food are available here.

  • Kumauni
  • Garhwali
  • Indian
  • Chinese
  • Tibetan

In the tourists centers such as Badrinath, Gujarati, Marwari, and other regional cuisines are available for the hordes of religious pilgrims that descend on the holy sites every summer.


Uttarakhand has high excise taxes on beer and alcohol: a bottle of beer can cost 80-90 rupees, nearly double the price of some other states in India. Quite a few holy towns including Haridwar and Rishikesh are officially dry. Cannabis is illegal, but widely used anyway.

Stay safe

The roads are a bit tricky, and taxi rides in the hills may appear dangerous, but otherwise Uttarakhand is a pretty safe place for tourists. However, tourists are known to encounter problems in the urban centers and the plains districts such as Haridwar.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun

Uttaranchal (उत्तरांचल)

  1. the 27th state of the Republic of India formed on November 9, 2000 after a relatively short and peaceful struggle by its people in the 1990s, having previously comprised part of Uttar Pradesh. Uttaranchal borders Tibet in the north-east and Nepal to the south-east, while its neighbour states are Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The provisional capital of Uttaranchal is Dehradun which is also a rail-head and largest city in the region. The small hamlet of Gairsen has been mooted as a future capital owing to its geographic centrality. The High Court of Uttaranchal is situated in the district of Nainital. The region is also known as Uttarakhand, which derives from the Sanskrit for North Country.

Uttaranchal has traditionally been divided into two parts, the western half known as Garhwal and the eastern region going by the name of Kumaon.

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