Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is located in the northern part of India and in the very heart of the Himalaya .It is being defined as the land of the God, nature has bestowed its grace in form of abundance of natural beauty. Along with high Himalayan peaks like Nandadevi, Kamet, Changabang, Gangotri& Bhagirathi group of peaks, infinity number of glaciers glaciers, virgin forests, flowering meadows,the sacred and River Ganges, which is also the lifeline of the country, started her journey from Gaumukh, the snout point of Gangotri Glacier.

Uttarakhand is also the land of spiritualism, yoga and meditation.

Garhwal:

HARIDWAR:

It is said that when the Gods left their footprints on the land of Haridwar.Haridwar has always remained as a major Shaktipeeth for the devotees and regarded as a major pilgrimageofHindus.

Haridwar is one of the first towns where Ganga emerges from the mountains to touch the plains. And that's why the water is crystal clear and cool. Lush green forests and small ponds add to the scenic beauty of this holy land. The Rajaji National Park is just 10kms. fromHaridwar. It's an ideal destination for wildlife and advanture lovers. In the evening the ghats look breathtakingly I beautiful, as thousands of diyas and marigold flowers float and illuminate the Holy waters.

DEHRADUN:

Nestled in the mountain ranges of the Himalaya, Dehradun in one the oldest cities of India. Also known as the ‘Abode of Drona’, Dehradun has always been an important center of the Garhwal rulers which was captured by the British. The headquarters of many National Institutes like ONGC, survey of India, I.I.P. etc are located in the city. Dehradun has a string of premier educational instituted like the forest Research Institute, Rashtriya Indian Military College and the Indian Military Academy. It is a favoured tourist destination as it attracts tourists, piligrims and enthusiasts from various walks of life to its serene environs. Add to this the abundance of special Basmati rice, tea and leechi gardens which contribute in turning the city into a paradise.

MUSSOORIE:

Popularly known as the Queen of Hills, this charming hill station, 34 kms from Dehradun is situated at an altitude of 2003 mts in the Garhwal hills. above sea-level. Mussoorie is one the beautiful hill stations in India and the most frequently visited. It provides excellent respite to people who want relief from the hot sultry conditions of the plains, especially since it is close enough to the capital to make just weekend trip. Also, major Hindu pilgrimage sites like Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Haridwar, Rishikesh are not far from this place.

In 1820, Captain Young of the British army was influenced by the beauty of this place and made it his residence. The name, Mussoorie is derived from plants of 'Mussoorie' which were found in abundance here. After its discovery, this hill station gradually developed as a centre of education, business, tourism and beauty.

LANSDOWNE:

Lansdowne, set at an altitude of 1,706 metres about 81 kms from Pauri is one of the quietest hill station in the country. It was very popular among the Britishers and is named after Lord Lansdowne, the Viceroy of India from 1888 to 1894. The charming resort surrounded by thick oak and pine forest is a perfect place for a peaceful holiday in the lap of mother nature.The Lansdowne was founded by ‘Lord Lasndowne’ in 1887 A.D., thus the place has been named after him. Lansdowne was originally a popular hill station with the Britishers. Lansdowne was a major place of the activities of freedom fighters from British Garhwal during British period. Nowadays, the famous Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army had its command office here. 81 km. from Pauri, Lansdowne is situated at altitude of 1,706 meters on a hill, which was originally known as ‘Kaludanda’ in local language, enrouteKotware-Pauri road. The nearest railway station is Kotdwar at a distance of 41 km.

Surrounded by thick Oak and blue Pine forests, Lansdowne is a very charming place for a quiet holiday as it is devoid of the usual hustles and bustle of hill stations. Lansdowne has scenic beauty and good surroundings. The pine and oak trees provide an healthy climate. The beautiful and refreshing points around the city are Tip-n-Top, Santoshi Mata Temple, Church Point. The excursions from the city are TarkeshwarMahadev temple, BhairavGarhi temple etc. Annual ‘Shardotsav’ is also organized at this hill station during autumn season.

VALLEY OF FLOWERS:

The Valley of the flowers is one of the Natural wonders of the world,and recently it has been inscribed as world heritage site, the Alpine Valley nestles at the feet of majestic snowpeaks. This carpet of flowers 10 kms in length and 12 kms in width is the abode of gods. During the rains the entire Valley is transformed into a natural garden with an innumerable variety of alpine flowers. At the altitude of 3,500 meters to 4,000 meters, this valley has snow lakes and glaciers, all now preserved as national park. Nestled high in the West Himalaya, India's Valley of Flowers National Park is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep. The gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park, which was already inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1988. Together they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalaya, praised by mountaineers and botanists for over a century and in Hindu mythology for much longer. With this extension the site will be known as Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park.

RUDRAPRAYAG:

Named after Lord Shiva (Rudra), Rudraprayag is situated at the holy confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers, at a distance of 34 kms. from Srinagar (Garhwal). The meeting of the Mandakini and Alaknanda rivers has a unique beauty of its own and it seems as if two sisters were embracing each other. It is believed that to master the mysteries of music, narad Muni worshipped Lord Shiva, who appeared in his RudraAvtaar (incarnation) to bless Narad. The shiva and Jagdamba temples are of great religious importance. Till recently, Rudraprayag was a part of district Chamoli and Tehri, In 1997 the Kedarnath Valley and parts of district Tehri&Pauri were conjoined to form Rudraprayag as a new district.

The presence of two separate routes for Badrinath and KedarnathDham from Rudraprayag render great importance to the place.

The entire region is blessed with immense natural beauty, places of religious importance, lakes & glaciers.

NANDADEVI NATIONAL PARK:

Spread over an area of 630 sq km, just next to the Nanda Devi Peak (which is the second highest mountain in India - 7816 m), is the Nanda Devi National Park. It was established in 1980. The first men on record to have reached this Sanctuary, while yet in its pristine form, were the British Mountaineers Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman. The area had largely remained undisturbed till then, except for Tilman's successful attempt on Nanda Devi in 1936. However, from 1950 onwards the increasing number of treks and climbing expeditions to the area has somewhat affected the virgin character of this place. A unique mix of flora and fauna is characteristic of this park. The fauna includes the brown and Himalayan black bears, Himalayan thar, snow leopards, serow and chir pheasants.

BADRINATH:

Guarded on either side by the two mountains Nar and Narayan, the Neelkanth Peak provides a splendid backdrop to Badrinath, one of the ‘Four Dhams’. One of the most celebrated pilgrim spots in the country, it plays host to the famous Badrinath Temple. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu came to the area, called ‘Badri Van’, or the berry garden, to meditate after Narad rebuked the Lord for being immersed in worldly pleasures. The main deity is a meditating Lord Vishnu. Facing the temple at the bank of Alaknanda River is a hot water spring known as "TaptKund", a bath in which is very refreshing to all travellers. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple of ShriBadrinathji, is 5 m high, built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull and spire. The temple opens every year in the month of April-May and closes for winters in the third week of November. Even though legend dates the temple back to the Vedic age, Guru AdiShankaracharya has established the present temple. The temple has three parts - GarbhaGrih (The Sanctum Sanctorum), DarshanMandap (for pujas) and SabhaMandap (for devotees to assemble).

GANGOTRI:

Gangotri Glacier is a well-known glacier in Garhwal Himalayas, situated in Uttarkashi district. The glacier originates at the northern slope of Chaukhamba range of peaks. This is not a single valley glacier, but a combination of several other glaciers are fed to it and form a huge mass of ice. The glacier lies within a span of 28 km and terminates at Gaumukh (4000 m). The glacier flows at a gentle slope except for a few ice walls and crevices developed in the upper regions of the glacier where, as in the lower part (above the snout), the glacier is covered by debris, which imparts a muddy appearance to its surface. The glacier is easily approachable. It is well connected by motor able road up to Gangotri temple and from there a 17 km, long bridle path follows along the right bank of the Bhagirathi river to Gaumukh, the snout of the glacier.

GangotriTemple :The shrine of Gangotri is situated at an elevation of 3048 m amidst captivating surroundings. Gangotri is located at a distance of 99 km from Uttarkashi. The temple, constructed by the Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa, in the 18th century, is situated on the left bank of Bhagirathi. It is visited by lakhs of pilgrims every year. A number of ashrams are located on the other side, some of which provide accommodation facilities to the visitors.

KEDARNATH:

Amidst the dramatic mountainscapes of the majestic Kedarnath range stands one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Kedar or Lord Shiva. Lying at an altitude of 3584 m on the head of river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the Hindus. There are more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in the district itself, the most important one is Kedarnath. According to legend, the Pandavas after having won over the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers and sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption. He eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations. The arms appeared at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madhmaheshwar and his locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath and the four above mentioned shrines are treated as PanchKedar. An imposing sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. The present temple, built in 8th century A.D. by AdiShankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door, a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely architecturedKedarnath temple is considered to be more than 1000 years old. Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut gray slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs had been handled in the earlier days. The temple has a "GarbhaGriha" for worship and a Mandap, apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form.

YAMUNOTRI:

The shrine of Yamunotri, situated at an elevation of about 3,235 m is a point of paramount religious importance for Hindus and an essential pilgrimage. Situated in the direction opposite to Gangotri, the road bifurcates from a place called Dharasu, somewhere between Rishikesh-Uttarkashi and goes on to Yamunotri. The shrine can also be visited via Mussoorie and Barkot.

Kumaon

CHAUKORI:

A small Hamlet situated in PithoragarhDistt of Uttarakhand, famous for the tea Garden established by Britishers and view of Himalayas snow clad ranges some of the massive peaks with a view at 175 degrees are trishul, nandadevi, maiktoli, nandakot and panchchuli. The virgin beauty of Chaukori is mesmerizing and enchanting which would definitely linger in your memory for days to come At a height of 2,010 m, above the sea level and 173 km away from Nainital, Chaukori is not just another hill station, but it's for the very few, who want to be there, in the majestic proximity of the Himalayas for an unbound view of the NandaDevi and Panchchulipeaks,One of the most magnificent aspects of holidaying in Chaukori is the fabulous sunrise and sunset that you are treated to.

The night sky is studded with a million stars that simply takes your breath away. The charming little town of Chaukori is unlike any other hill station you have seen Chaukori is not less than sensing the poet in God for creating such perfect place. It is a Must visit destination of lifetime to get inspiration from Mother Nature.

KAUSANI:

There are very few places in the Himalayas which can compare with the beauty of Kaushani.As the entire Kumaon Hills have been known for their idyllic beauty with the huge mountains silhouetted against the sky.Kausani was originally called Valna. Kausani offers the magic of the deep pine forests and the majestic mountains. Kausani the birthplace of the famed poet SumitraNandan Pant is often referred to as the 'Switzerland of India. Situated among mountains and trees, the peaks Trishul and Nanda Devi are clearly visible from here. In 1929, Mahatma Gandhi spent 12 days here and brought his thoughts out in his book called Anasakti Yoga. The place where he stayed is called the Anasakti Ashram. This Ashram was earlier the guest house in a tea estate.Kausani is ideal to visit with the family. Because of its beauty, tourists come here all through the year. From morning to evening, from valleys to peaks, thousands of different colours can be seen here.

ALMORA:

Almora is a wonderful place to conveniently enjoy the spectacular snowscape of the central Himalayas. Most of the days in Almora are flawless. Almost everyday the tourist can see almost every peak. Almora allows you to enjoy the mighty Himalayas together with ridge after ridge of hills.The terraced fields, the stone slatted barrack-like village houses have so far put up a valiant fight against the encroachments of urban expansion and unplanned development. Bageshwar and Sitalakhet are other places of tourist interest. Bageshwar is one of the main camping sites for the journey to Pindari Glacier, which is situated at a height of 3,820 meters.Sitlakhet is the new tourist resort on the Syahi Devi hill. Kafni Glacier is also close by(around 3,870 meters above sea level).

NAINITAL:

This hill station situated in the picturesque Kumaon region is situated around the lake Naini. Seven mountains or the SaptaShring surrounds the city.Apart from its scenic beauty Nainital is famous for its scented candles. The hill station offers a wonderful holiday retreat from the hectic routine of the cities. The high-rising Himalayas, the tree-covered hillsides, beautiful walks and enchanting lakes mesmerize all the tourists who visit Nainital. Though overcrowded in summer, exploring this tourism resort in the off-season can also prove to be an interesting holiday. Travel to Uttarakhand to view the Snow View, a popular vantage point that offers an excellent view of the northern Himalayan ranges. The Naini Peak is a popular picnic spot and offers a panoramic view of the Nanda Devi and the mountains on the Tibetan border. Hanuman Garhi has a small temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The State Observatory is located near Hanuman Garhi on the top of a ridge.

SAT TAL:

On the way from Nainital to Bhimtal is a group of seven lakes called the Sattal. Nature has really provided this place beauty in abundance. There is government Bunglow where you can spend the night. Taxis and buses are available to Sattal from Nainital. It is 22 Km from Nainital.

NAUKUCHIATAL:

Just four kms from Bhimtal is lake with nine corners hence it is known as the Naukutchia Lake. This is an ideal place to spend your holidays and relax. The lake is full of lotus and is surrounded by forest with a backdrop of the mountains, all this creates an ideal condition to enjoy boating in here or sit on the banks and feel the breeze coming from the lake. There are regular bus and taxi services to this place and the accommodation where you can stay.

MUKTESWAR:

At a distance of 52 km. from Nainital, Mukteshwar set atop a high ridge, is a beautiful Himalayan resort. Surrounded by fruit orchards and thick coniferous forest, it provides a majestic view of the Himalayas and the Almora town below in glittering moonlit nights. The famous Indian Veterinary Research Institute is also located here.

PITHORAGARH:

Pithoragarh stands at a height of 1,851 meters in a valley, fondly called the 'Little Kashmir' in the northern state of Uttarakhand. The district covers an area of 8,856 square kilometers and it borders both Nepal and Tibet. Pithoragarh seems to be attracting a lot of tourists these days, because the state not only offers the tourists a chance to enjoy natural beauty but also a chance to try various adventure sports, such as white river rafting, hang-gliding and skiing.

RANIKHET (The Queen's Field):

has come to be known so because according to popular belief, this spot had won the heart of RaniPadmini, Queen of Raja Sudhardev and she chose this scenic spot to be her abode.To view nature & its elements in full harmony, the right place to be is Ranikhet. It is the place which wonderfully mirrors the best of the heavenly Himalayas offering excellent views of the snowcapped Nanda Devi (7817m), lush green forests, delicate plant life and attractive wild life.

At an altitude of 1829m, north of Nainital (61 km) and well connected to Almora (44km) &Kathgodam (83km), Ranikhet( km) has emerged as a favoured all season destination. During the rains, flowers sprout up everywhere in rainbow colours, branches of trees stoop with ripened fruits & sunlight peeping through the mist & clouds endow an enchanting effect all across Ranikhet.

As winter comes, the softly falling snow flakes cover the environs in sheets of pure whiteness. The 1869 the land was bought by British from local villagers and a summer rest & recreation settlement was set for British troops. Today it is an important army town and the head quarters of the Kumaon Regiment.

BINSAR BIRD SANCTUARY:

The Binsar wildlife sanctuary encompasses an area of about 50 sq. Kms in virgin forests near Almora. This tract is considered to be one of the most beautiful expanses in the whole of kumaon.

Geomorphology
The slopes have a varying expanse and the terrain has been shaped by the action of running water.

Flora
The main forests types found in this sanctuary are listed below:

  1. Oak and moist mixed deciduous forests.
  2. Temperate moist coniferous forests including deodar and blue pine.
  3. Sub-alpine birch, fir and spruce forests.
  4. Sub-alpine pasture and scrub.

Fauna
This sanctuary is the home of many high altitude species of animals and birds which includes the leopard, civet cat, serow, ghural, musk deer, brown bear and kaleej pheasant.

CORBETT NATION PARK:

India's first and finest park spread over 520 sq km along the banks of the Ramganga river, just 300 km northeast of Delhi in the foothills of the Himalayas is the Corbett National Park. Established initially as Hailey National Park on August 8, 1936, in honour of Sir Malcolm Hailey, then governor of the United Provinces, the name was changed to Ramganga National Park in 1952. In 1957, it was finally named as Corbett National Park in honour and memory of the late Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter, naturalist-turned-author and photographer who had helped in setting up the park and demarcating its boundaries.

The elevation of the Park ranges between 400 m and 1210 m. The multipurpose hydel dam at Kaulagarh lies at the southwestern fringe of Corbett. The lake inside, with its scenic charm, has added to the beauty of the park. Many species of water birds, both migrant and non-migrant, frequent its water. Crocodiles and long snouted fish-eating gharial have found new homes here and their numbers have increased. They can often be seen sun basking on the sand banks. For anglers too, the lake is a paradise. Fish, such as the mashseer, abound in the lake and river. The Park offers different kinds of vegetation along its varied topography which comprises hilly and riparian areas, temporary marshy depressions, plateaus and ravines.

110 species of trees, 51 species of shrubs and over 33 species of bamboo are found here. There are three distinct seasons in Corbett: Cold - Nov. to Feb., Hot - March to June, Rainy - July to Oct. . Over 50 mammal, 580 bird and 25 reptile species have been listed in the Corbett. Also astounding is the insect life here. Corbett is a known haven for tigers, largely owing to the success of WWF funded project-tiger that was launched on 1stApril 1973. Other animals which add to its attraction are: Leopard, leopard cat, jungle cat, fishing cat, Himalayan black bear, dhole, yellow-throated morten, elephant, porcupine, chital, barking deer etc. Some of the birds commonly seen here are osprey, crested serpent eagle, blackwinged kite, shikra, pallas's fishing eagle, spotted eagle, minivets, shrikes, babblers etc.

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