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Uttarakhand, formerly called Uttaranchal, is a northern state in India. Presence of many temples, shrines and pilgrimage centers makes it the ‘Dev Bhumi’ or the ‘Land of Gods’.
The state was created in the year of 2000 from the adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh. In the north it borders Tibet Autonomous Region, Nepal in the east, Uttar Pradesh in the south, Himachal Pradesh in the west and Haryana in the south-west.
Two of the country’s largest rivers, Ganga and Yamuna, originate in the glaciers of Uttarakhand, where they are fed by myriad lakes, glacial melts and streams. The state lies in the southern slopes of the Himalayan range, and the climate and vegetation vary greatly with elevation, from glaciers in the highest elevations to sub-tropical forests in the lower reaches. The Himalayan eco-system provides habitat for animals like the snow-leopard, tigers and bharal, different species of plants and rare herbs.
Many of the region’s most popular attractions lie within the cool hills of the Terai. It never gets too hot here. Summer is the best time to visit as the temperatures are pleasant and inviting. Winters can be freezing cold. Heavy rainfall in the monsoon results in dangerous landslides. To avoid the risk, you may time your visit between September and November, i.e. the post monsoon season.
There may not be any beaches or palaces in the state, yet there is something for everybody here – majestic mountains, dense forests, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, opportunities for ample adventure sports such as rafting, trekking, climbing, hiking, nature strolls and exploring nature in all its glory!
Nainital, Mussoorie, Almora, Kausani, Lansdowne have become fairly commercial and crowded but their suburbs retain the pristine charm and beauty for which they became popular in the first place. They are lovely retreats midst mist-shrouded mountains, alpine meadows and green woods. You will love the enchanting beauty of Ranikhet and Pithoragarh as well.
Take a trip to the holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh for a dip in the holy waters or shop till you drop at the busy markets of Dehradun, Nainital or Mussoorie – wander on for serendipity.
The food of the state is simple, yet nutritious and delicious. Milk and dairy based products are sparingly used but coarse grains with high fiber content are very common in the Uttarakhand cuisines.
Food items that are famous here are ‘mandua’ (Kumaun specialty) and linguda, that is grown on the borders of Tibet and Nepal, and are a part of pahari cuisine as it helps to keep the stomach in order.
Some of the famous dishes are phanu (made of lentils), kafuli ( thick gravy preparation of green leafy vegetables), thechwani (crushed radish or potato curry), bhatwani, chainsoo (prepared from black gram), jholi, tor ki dal and bhaat or gahat ke paranthe with mouth-watering chutney; Garhwali dishes like roat, arsa, urd ki pakori, pooris, kaddu ki bhujji, aloo tamater ka jhol; try hot baadi with gahat ki dal or phanu, bhaat ki churdkani, gulgula, mandua ki roti, thagya roti, kuladh ki dal, kandali ka saag and jhangora ki kheer.
Many villages and towns in Uttarakhand celebrate seasonal fairs and festivals. The most important and well-known of the religious events are the Ardh Kumbh and the Maha Kumbh melas at Hardwar.
Many of the state’s more secular events are connected with the cycle of seasons and mark specific events. Fairs are a time of great gaiety and fun; there’s feasting, singing, dancing, merry-making and revelry.
The important fairs that are organized by the state’s Tourism board include: Uttarayani Mela in January, Jauljibi Mela/Poornagiri Mela/Jhanda Fair in March, Thal Mela/Dwarahat Mela/ Somnath Masi Mela in April, Shravan Jhula Mela/Kavand Mela in July-August, Devidhura Mela again in August, Nanda Devi Mela in September and Gananath Mela in October.
Other important annual events include the International Yoga Week in early February, Badri-Kedar Festival in early June, Garhwal Festival in end October, and Kumaon Festival in the beginning of November.
Music is an integral part of the Uttarakhand culture. The calm and serene ambience of the place surrounded with hills and mountains, scintillating glimpse of streams of rivers, lush green forests, and hilly terrains have inspired many musicians to mention them in their master compositions. Some of the popular folk songs are ‘Mangals’, ‘Basanti’, ‘Chhopati’, ‘Jhoda’, ‘Bajuband’, ‘Laman’, ‘Khuded’ composed on the beats of dhol, dholki, turri, daur, thali, damoun and bhankora.
‘Langvir Nritya’, ‘Barada Nati’, ‘Choliya’, ‘Pandava’, ‘Chanchi’, ‘Chhapeli’ are various dance forms of the state.
Among the prominent local crafts is wood carving – floral patterns, deities, geometrical motifs are intricately carved on walls/doors and ceilings of many homes. Paintings and murals of Kumaoni and Garhwali art forms are popular.
Uttarakhand is the land of dense forests, icy white glaciers, clear gurgling streams and towering mountains. This ‘Dev Bhumi’ beckons hundreds of devout Hindus to pay homage at the shrines, temples and ashrams in the belief that it will bring salvation. And for the not-so-devout there are mountains to climb, rivers to ford, forests to explore and trails to trek. Make your way up the tiny hamlets tucked away in misty hills or just sit under a tree and watch the sun go down in a burst of colors – can’t get lovelier than this!
Dehradun’s Paltan Bazaar and Rajpur road, Almora’s Lala and Chowk Bazaars, and the malls of Mussoorie and Nainital are main shopping districts. Among the best buys are locally produced goods like woolen garments, shawls, carved wood items, metal ware and brassware. Handcrafted jewellery, basketry, woolen shawls, scarves and rugs too are good souvenirs to take back with you.
Hindi is widely spoken, and so is English in the urban cities. Different dialects of Pahari are used by the people in the villages.
Whether you are a pilgrim, a backpacker or an adventure freak, this is a state you have just got to travel through. The quiet and relaxed environs make it an ideal place to unwind.
By Road: This place is 1900 meters at the hill top opposite to New Tehri. One can easily hire cabs from Chamba and explore this place!
By Train: Pathankot railway station is the closest rail head. Itâs well connected to Ahmedabad, Jammu Tawi, Udhampur, Amritsar, Vaishno Devi and other places.
By Air: Jolly grant is the nearest airport. It has flights to all the major cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and others.GET DIRECTION
Carry food and water. Except road side stalls, this place lacks proper restaurants.
From October till March are the most favorable months to visit this place!
This vantage point provides a panoramic view of the Bhagirathi and New Tehri town. Also looking and Chaukhamba and Nanda Devi in day light will make any hill lover to return to this place once again. Also Sur singh temple and Suri Devi temple are must watch! Besides, nature walking, relaxing and witnessing the sunset and sunrise attracts many city dwellers to Sursingdhar to some lone time!
Chamba: An ancient town, Chamba is known for its pristine beauty!