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Uttarakhand

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South Asia : India : Himalayan North : Uttarakhand
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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.

Regions

Two main regions of Uttarakhand are :

Each region has its own distinct culture and language.

Cities

A view of the Ganges flowing through Rishikesh.
Meadows & Clouds at Chopta.
Camps at Har Ki Dun Valley,Uttarkashi.
Highest Shiva Temple,Tungnath/Chopta, built by Pandavs/Adi Shankaracharya.
Pauri Town.
Pauri at dawn, Himalayas as the last upper ridge in the background.
Dunagiri. Experience Serenity, Divinity, Eternity.
Panwali Bugyal, enroute Gangotri-Kedarnath.
Himalayas near Ukhimath,Rudraprayag.
Kedarnath & Neelkanth peaks from Ukhimath, Rudraprayag.
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
  • 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.
  • Haridwar - holy city on the Ganges and one of the sites of Kumbh Mela, the world's largest festival
  • Mukteshwar
  • 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
  • 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.

Other destinations

Understand

Talk

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.

Get around

See

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:

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.

Hotels

[3]http://www.uttrakhandhotels.com/gangakinare/index.htm

"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."

Do

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.

Eat

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.

Drink

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.

Get out


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