Uttarakhand formerly Uttaranchal, is a state located in the northern part
of India. It is often referred to as the Land of Gods - Dev Bhumi
due to the many holy Hindu temples and cities found throughout the state
which are some of Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious places of pilgrimage
and worship. The shrines of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath
and Badrinath make up the Char Dham Yatra, four highly sacred
destinations of the Hindus. Uttarakhand also known for its natural
Uttarakhand was carved out of Himalayan and adjoining districts of Uttar
Pradesh on 9th November 2000, becoming the 27th state of
the Republic of India. It borders the Tibet Autonomous Region on the north,
Nepal on the east and the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south,
Haryana to the west and Himachal Pradesh to the north west.
The Uttarakhand state is the birth place of four major river
system, Ganga, Yamuna, Ramganga and Sharda.
Uttarakhand Tourism boasts of the snow capped mountains, rolling
meadows, high altitude lakes, dense forests and wetland habitat support
a divers and exotic wildlife, birds and plants species in Garhwal and
Kumaon the two regions of Uttarakhand.
is selected 'first' tourism destination in India by Governemnet
of India & will be developed as new niche products like caravan
tourism, wellness tourism, spiritual tourism, & religious tourism.
The region is traditionally referred to as Uttarakhand in Hindu scriptures
and old literature, a term which derives from Sanskrit uttara meaning
north, and khand meaning country or part of a country. It has an area
of 20,682 sq mi (53,566 kmē).
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 Gairsain 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. Uttarakhand is also well
known as the birthplace of the Chipko environmental movement, and a myriad
other social movements including the mass agitation in the 1990s that
led to its formation.
History of Uttarakhand
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. It is well-known for 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.
Geography of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand has a total geographic area of 51,125 kmē, 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 Ganges and the Yamuna take birth in the glaciers
of Uttarakhand, and are fed by myriad lakes, glacial melts and streams
in the region.
Tourism In Uttarakhand - Uttarakhand Tourism
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.
The altitude of Uttarakhand varies from 300m to 7,800m and the state has
eight major types of forests. There are 6 National parks and 6 Wildlife
Sanctuaries of which sites of Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers
are World heritage Sites. Together the Nanda Devi National Park and the
Valley of Flowers National Park is a biosphere reserve. Asan barrage-
a paradise for migratory birds and Jhilmiltal which is perhaps the only
Swamp deer habitat in Uttarakhand. They are the first Conservation Reserves
established in the country.
To Uttarakhand, long called "abode of the gods" (Dev Bhumi),
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 Char Dham, one of Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious
Haridwar, meaning "Gateway to God" is a prime Hindu
destination. Haridwar hosts the Kumbha Mela every twelve years, in which
millions of pilgrims take part from all parts of the India and the world.
Rishikesh near Haridwar is known as the preeminent yoga centre of India.
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. 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, southwest of Dehradun.
The Uttarakhand 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.
Brahma Kamal - The State Flower of Uttarakhand
Education In Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is home to several important educational institutions, including
the oldest engineering colleges in Asia, the Indian Institute of Technology
at Roorkee and Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology
in Pantnagar. Other universities and institutes of prime importance include,
Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, Forest Research Institute in Dehradun,
Govind Ballabh Pant Engineering College in Pauri and Kumaon Engineering
Uttarakhand is home to several reputed day and boarding schools including
St. Joseph's College (Nainital), The Doon School (Dehradun), SelaQui International
School (Dehradun), Brightlands (Dehradun), St. Joseph's Academy (Dehradun),
Woodstock School (Landour), St. George's College (Mussoorie), Delhi Public
School (Ranipur, Haridwar) Sherwood College (Nainital), All Saints' College
(Nainital), St. Mary's Convent (Nainital), Sainik School Ghorakhal near
Bhowali and G D Birla Memorial School (Ranikhet). 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.
Uttarakhand Travel Map
- Districts of Uttarakhand
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