Exploring Uttarakhand - Simply Heaven

Uttarakhand, a state in northern India crossed by the Himalayas, is known for its Hindu pilgrimage sites. Rishikesh, a major centre for yoga study, was made famous by the Beatle's 1968 visit. The city hosts the evening Ganga Aarti, a spiritual gathering on the sacred Ganges River. The state's forested Jim Corbett National Park shelters Bengal tigers and other native wildlife.

The lush green forests of this region are home to an astounding multiplicity of flora and fauna, some of which fall into the category of endangered species. The wildlife bursts with hundreds and thousands of species, making an exploratory trip to Uttarakhand even more exciting, in the light of the fact that many species are yet to be discovered.World-renowned mountains and wildlife institutes, national parks and forest reserves in this region pursue scientific research putting in enormous efforts to preserve and protect the land's bounty, encouraging people to participate in this noblest of causes.A description of the charismatic beauty of Uttarakhand would be incomplete without the mention of people who inhabit this blessed country - simple, willing to help and hardworking people of the state are as diversified as the elements of nature. Several indigenous tribal groups peacefully co-exist with others, simultaneously keeping their distinct cultures alive. Apart from being a unique tourism destination, Uttarakhand is a goldmine for anthropologists, historians, ornithologists, linguists, geologists .you name the discipline and the state has something on offer.

Uttarakhand or Uttaranchal was carved out of 13 districts of Uttar Pardesh in 9th of Nov2000. It became the 27th state of the Indian Union and Dehradun was made the state capital. The initial name Uttarakhand was renamed to Uttaranchal and finally again changed to Uttarakhand in 2006.Uttarakhand is home to the holiest rivers the Ganga and Yamuna and the mightiest of the mountains the Himalayas. The Char Dham, Haridwar and Rishikesh are considered as the holiest place in the world. It is surrounded by huge mountains and around 70% of the state land is situated in the hilly region.This exceptionally beautiful state is believed to be created by gods for themselves as their second home hence it is also called as the Abode of Gods.

Best Time To Visit Uttarakhand : -Uttarakhand is one of the top-tourist and holiest pilgrimage destinations in India that allures a lot of travelers and devotees from all parts of India and across the globe. The snow-capped peaks, exotic hill stations and green jungles form the major highlight of the place. Though, you can plan a trip to Uttarakhand all the year long, but the best time to visit Uttarakhand is during summers and winters.Summers are counted favorable to plan a trip to Uttarakhand. The temperature in summer season varies from 20 degree Celsius to 35 degree Celsius. Tourist can explore the places like Nainital, Auli, Almora, Rishikesh, Ranikhet, Kausani, Dhanaulti, Mussoorie, Lansdowne, and Uttarkashi. The melange of awe-inspiring beauty and pleasant weather makes every visitor feel good.

Local Cuisine of Uttarakhand : - Taste the magic of Uttarakhand recipes. The traditional cuisine of Uttarakhand is highly nutritious, simple to prepare and at the same time appealing to the palate.Snuggled in the foot hills of the majestic Himalayas, Kumaon and Garhwal are two distinct constituent regions. Both have their own distinctive traditions, festivals and culture. The people are brave, hard working and honest. And their Cuisine is high on taste and nutrition. The food habits of the people change according to the changing seasons. So, if in winters Mathir and Til Laddus or Madua Rotis are preferred, in summers, Dubkas with Chholia Rotis are savoured.To actually enjoy a tranquil, cool and enchanting trip to Garhwal and Kumaon, visitors should also savor the exquisite Cuisine, so typical of these regions.

Places to Stay in Uttarakhand !

Here are my select set of hotels with great views of the snow peaks. Visit the links and read detailed reviews to know about all aspects of the hotel including service and amenities before you decide on one. Remember, only a great view isn't just enough to make a hotel a great one.

Place Of Visit-Sightseeing

Rishikesh : - Rishikesh is a city in India's northern state of Uttarakhand, in the Himalayan foothills beside the Ganges River. The river is considered holy, and the city is renowned as a center for studying yoga and meditation. Temples and ashrams (centers for spiritual studies) line the eastern bank around Swarg Ashram, a traffic-free, alcohol-free and vegetarian enclave upstream from Rishikesh town.At the confluence of 3 rivers, the Triveni Ghat is regarded as a sacred bathing spot for spiritual cleansing. A fire ritual known as ganga aarti is performed there nightly, where oil lamps are floated downstream. Upstream, the pedestrian-only iron suspension bridges, Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula, join the banks of the river around Swarg Ashram. The elaborate, 13-story Trayambakeshwar temple stands by the Lakshman Jhula bridge. Numerous ashrams offer yoga courses, and local companies arrange trekking tours into the mountains, kayaking and white-water rafting trips.

Haridwar : - Haridwar is an ancient city and important Hindu pilgrimage site in North India's Uttarakhand state, where the River Ganges exits the Himalayan foothills. The largest of several sacred ghats (bathing steps), Har Ki Pauri hosts a nightly Ganga Aarti (river-worshipping ceremony) in which tiny flickering lamps are floated off the steps. Worshipers fill the city during major festivals including the annual Kanwar Mela.Accessible by cable car or steps, the ornate hilltop temples of Mansa Devi and Chandi Devi offer panoramic views of the plains from opposite sides of the Ganges. Another important pilgrimage temple is Maya Devi by Birla Ghat. Daksheswara Mahadev Temple lies amid havelis (mansions), sacred ashrams and an ancient banyan tree just south of Haridwar in the town of Kankhal. Near Haridwar, Rajaji National Park in the Shivalik Hills offers jungle safaris to see tigers, elephants, leopards and more than 300 species of birds, plus rafting on the River Ganges.

Mussoorie : -Mussoorie is a hill station and a municipal board in the Dehradun District of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is about 35 kilometres from the state capital of Dehradun and 290 km north of the national capital of New Delhi. The hill station is in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan range. The adjoining town of Landour, which includes a military cantonment, is considered part of 'greater Mussoorie', as are the townships of Barlowganj and Jharipani. The pin code for Mussoorie is 248179. Mussoorie is at an average altitude of 1,880 metres. To the northeast are the Himalayan snow ranges, and to the south, the Doon Valley and Shiwalik ranges. The second highest point is the original Lal Tibba in Landour, with a height of over 2,275 metres. Mussoorie is popularly known as The Queen of the Hills.

Nainital :-Nainital is a Himalayan resort town in the Kumaon region of India's Uttarakhand state, at an elevation of roughly 2,000m. Formerly a British hill station, it's set around Nainital Lake, a popular boating site with Naina Devi Hindu Temple on its north shore. A cable car runs to Snow View observation point (at 2,270m), with vistas over the town and mountains including Nanda Devi, Uttarakhand's highest peak.Naina Peak, at 2,600m, is within hiking distance. back in town, Bara Bazaar is a popular shopping destination. South of downtown Nainital is Raj Bhawan, a Victorian-era governmental manor offering tours of its grounds, plus a public golf course. Elsewhere in the region, forested Jim Corbett National Park is a reserve for endangered Bengal tigers and other native wildlife. Naukuchiatal (9-Cornered Lake) and Sattal (7 Lakes) are rustic locales for boating and fishing.

Kausani :-Kausani is a hill station and Village situated in Bageshwar district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is famous for its scenic splendour and its spectacular 300 km-wide panoramic view of Himalayan peaks like Trisul, Nanda Devi and Panchchuli. Mahatma Gandhi called this place the 'Switzerland of India', due to similarity in landscapes.

Munsiari :- Munsiyari is the name of the sub-division headquarters, a conglomeration of revenue villages and it also refers to the entire region as Munsiyari Tehsil and Sub Division in the Pithoragarh District in the hill-state of Uttarakhand, India. It lies at the base of the great Himalayan mountain range, at an elevation of about 2,200 m and is a starting point of various treks into the interior of the range.

Almora :- Almora is a municipal board and a cantonment town in the Almora district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is the administrative headquarters of Almora district. Almora is located on a ridge at the southern edge of the Kumaon Hills of the Himalaya range, at a distance of 363 km from the national capital New Delhi and 415 km via Saharanpur Rd, 351 km via NH109 and 388.6 km via Ambala- Dehradun- Haridwar Rd from the state capital Dehradun. According to the provisional results of the 2011 national census of India, Almora has a population of 35,513. Nestled within higher peaks of the Himalaya, Almora enjoys a year-round mild temperate climate. Almora was founded in 1568 by King Kalyan Chand, however there are accounts of human settlements in the hills and surrounding region in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Almora was the seat of Chand kings that ruled over the Kumaon Kingdom. It is considered the cultural heart of the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.

Binsar :- Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Himalayas on top of the Jhandi Dhar hills. It is about 33 km north of the Almora town in Uttarakhand, India. From a place called Zero Point in Binsar one can see the Himalayan peaks like Kedarnath Peak, Shivling, Trisul and Nanda Devi.

Chaukori :- Chaukori is a hill station in the Pithoragarh district set among the lofty peaks of the western Himalayan Range in the Kumaon Division of Uttarakhand, India. To its north is Tibet and to its south is Terai. The Mahakali River, running along its eastern boundary, forms the Indo-Nepal international border. This place has become a prominent tourist place and from here a wide and picturesque view of Himalayan range can be viewed. The golden yellow colour of sun rays falling on the Himalayan range in the morning time is really worth seeing. There are cottages available here where one can stay and enjoy the serene surroundings. Tourists coming to this place generally also visit the nearby tourist places like Patal Bhuvaneshwar, Kausani, Bageshwar and Almora.

How to reach Uttarakhand

by Air: - There are two domestic airports near Uttarakhand. These include the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun and Pantnagar Airport near Nainital. While there are regular flights to Dehradun from major cities of the country, Pantnagar Airport gets limited flights. So, make sure that you check with the flights before planning your trip to Uttarakhand.

by Rail: -Rail network offers convenient travelling to places in Uttarakhand. Some important junctions of the place include Haridwar, Dehradun, Rishikesh, Nainital, Kotdwar, Kathgodam, Pauri and Udham Singh Nagar. All these station are well connected to other cities of the country such as Delhi, Varanasi and Lucknow. Express and passenger trains run to the place from different parts of the country.

by Road :-There is a wide road network which covers the entire state. The roads are well-connected with Delhi and major state highways. These highways are further linked to main tourist destinations and important places such as Haridwar, Rishikesh and Corbett National Park. It is easy to reach these places via road. Also, there are bus services which operate on a daily basis to different destinations in Uttarakhand.

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