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Ultimate Guide to Exploring Uttarakhand

Introducing Uttarakhand

On the foothills of the Himalayas lies Uttrakhand, a state filled with purity, spirituality and beauty. It is here the mythological tales make themselves home, and why not? It is the home of gods – Devbhoomi.

About Uttarakhand

Verdant hills, meandering rivers, bigger than life lakes and encompassing mountains protect Uttarakhand and make it desirable for travellers. The presence of such landscapes also promises adventure sports in the region.

If this is inadequate for an itchy foot, the strategic location of Uttarakhand provides it with the benefit of having the two most sacrosanct rivers in India – Ganga and Yamuna. It appears that the state is competing to become the best, for mere coincidence cannot put the highest Shiva temple, i.e. Tungnath temple, and the highest gurudwara, i.e. Hemkunt Sahib, in the state. 

The place is a marvel for peace, yogic balance, spiritual connection with the divine. Not just Hindus, people from all religions come here. 

Each corner is tucked with gripping stories. Along with that, flora and fauna are possibly found in their best mood here; some of the highest peaks, national parks, reserves and sanctuaries preserve everything delightfully. The King of Himalayan flowers – Brahma Kamal – also blooms here. 

It is divided into two regions: Kumaon and Gharwal. Both areas have their cultures, traditions, foods and languages. 

Coming to History, Uttrakhand is the 27th state of independent India and is famous for its Chipko movement.

Why is Uttarakhand considered a holy land?

For Hindus, Uttrakhand is no less than the home of gods. Often revered as Devbhoomi, Uttrakhand is a land where each home, temple, the lake holds a mystical, magical story. One’s journey to Uttarakhand is a journey of the inner and outer self. The vibrance and uniqueness of the state don’t let you go without experiencing it. 

Nestled at a whopping height of the Himalayas is the Char Dham circuit of Uttarakhand, where the four most holy sites revered by the Hindus are situated: Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath.

Best Time To Visit Uttarakhand

March to April

September to October

Places to Visit In Uttarakhand

Rishikesh

Rishikesh, also known as “the gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas” and “the Yoga Capital of the World”, is a famous pilgrimage town. It is where ancient sages, munis, and saints attained spiritual knowledge. Rishikesh is also where the river Ganga leaves the Shivaliks and joins the plains of Northern India.

Mussoorie

Mussoorie is a famous hill station some 35 km from Dehradun. It is popularly known as “the queen of hills”. Flocked mainly by tourists in Summer and Winter, Bhadraj Temple, Dhanaulti, Kempty Falls, Jharipani Falls are famous locations.

Haridwar

Haridwar is the second-largest city in Uttrakhand that serves as an essential destination for bathing and getting salvation in the river Ganga. Mainly Hindu temples and ghats are here. It is one of the seven sacred cities in India. Historically, an elixir from Lord Vishnu’s vehicle spilled here, one of the four places, as a result of which Kumbh Mela is organised here once every 12 years.

Bageshwar

Bageshwar is a small town of religious significance where it is said that a person breaks away from the circle of life and death. We don’t know how true it is; we certainly know that we want you to witness how people believe in this. You know, if you will truly listen to their stories, you will start accepting the same. 

Auli

Uttarakhand has everything for an adventurous soul. It offers many snow sports in Auli. And to reach this, you can come to Joshimath and then take a 3.5 km cable car from there. Otherwise, by road, Auli is 14 km from Joshimath.

Chopta

Chopta is also the base point of the famous Tungnath temple, the highest Shiva temple in India. The place is known for its meadows, where camping under the starry nights is everyone’s dream. Then, it is also a famous trekking spot where a 360° view of Nanda Devi, Chaukhambha and Trishul gives you glances that leave a mark on you for a lifetime.

Nainital

Carpeted at an elevation of 2000 m, Nainital is a Himalayan resort town. It is located in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas. It experiences dry cold during winter.

Kedarnath

One among the Chota Char Dhams, Kedarnath, is mainly revered by devotees of Lord Shiva who reach the temple after trekking for 22 km. There is no other alternative way to get to the temple.

In 2013, it was hit by a flash flood. The debris did not do much damage; only some cracks can be seen on one temple wall.

Joshimath

Joshimath or Jyotirmath acts as an entry point to trekking trails, expeditions and pilgrim centres like Badrinath. It is a sacred destination and the winter seat of Lord Badri.

Munsiyari

True to its name, Munsiyari refers to the place of snow. It is at an elevation of 2200 m and enjoys views of the Goriganga river beside it. This is also the place under the ancient salt route from Tibet.

Wildlife Sanctuary and National Parks Uttarakhand

  1. Jim Corbett National Park
  2. Govind Wildlife Sanctuary
  3. Rajaji Tiger Reserve
  4. Nanda Devi National Park

Trekking in Uttarakhand

Uttrakhand is a trekking destination. Here are the significant treks that happen in the state:

    1. Chandrashila Peak
    2. Valley of Flowers
    3. Kedarkantha Trek
    4. Kedartal
    5. Har ki Dun 
    6. Dayara Bugyal
    7. Rudranath
    8. Nag Tibba Trek
    9. Gangotri
    10. Badrinath

How To Reach Uttarakhand

Although the state is gradually increasing its connectivity, Uttarakhand is mainly connected by roads that take us to many remote areas.

By Air

Uttarakhand has three airports: Jolly Grant Airport, Naini Saini Airport and Pantnagar Airport. 

By Rail

There are as many as 16 railway stations within the state that connect with the rest of India. 

By Road

This is the best mode of transportation in Uttrakhand. 

Budget for Uttarakhand (per day per person basis)

INR 1000 per day.

What To Eat in Uttarakhand

Kafuli, Bhang ki Chutney, Baadi, Dubuk, Jhangora ki kheer, Arsa, Aloo ka Jhol, Singori.

How Long Should A Trip Be for Uttarakhand

A typical trip to Uttarakhand is of 7 to 8 days. All sightseeing locations along with activities can be covered in this duration. But if you want to get involved in trekking or other adventure activities, be prepared and make an assertive plan. 

Additional Information about Uttarakhand

  1. Uttarakhand Weather and temperature Information: Uttarakhand has a subtropical climate. In summers, the temperature can reach upto 40° C, and in winters, it generally ranges from 0° C to 30° C.

  2. Festival that happens in Uttarakhand:
    1. Kumbh Mela
    2. Ganga Dussehra
    3. Kanwar Yatra
    4. Magh Mela

Read More
Valley of Flowers: The King of Colourful vacations.
North Indian Festivals’ list is all you need to plan your year!
Kedarkantha Trek – A Complete Guide

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About the author

Supriya is currently based in Bangalore who loves the art of observing things. She wants to fill all her days with poetry and travel. Her works have been published in 2 books namely - The Fragrance of life and Ikigai. Her articles have also reached the audience through Women's Web, Asailor and Tripoto platform.

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