Uttarakhand, originally known as Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the "Devabhumi" (literally "Land of the Gods") due to numerous Hindu temples and pilgrimage centers found throughout the state. Uttarakhand is known for the natural environment of the Himalayas, the Bhabar and the Terai regions.
The state is divided into two divisions, Garhwal and Kumaon, with a total of 13 districts. The winter capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun, the largest city of the state, which is a rail head. Gairsain, a town in Chamoli district is the summer capital of Uttarakhand. The High Court of the state is located in Nainital.
Archaeological evidence supports the existence of humans in the region since prehistoric times. The region formed a part of the Uttarakuru Kingdom during the Vedic age of Ancient India. Among the first major dynasties of Kumaon were the Kunindas in the 2nd century BCE who practised an early form of Shaivism. Ashokan edicts at Kalsi show the early presence of Buddhism in this region. During the medieval period, the region was consolidated under the Katyuri rulers of Kumaon also known as 'Kurmanchal Kingdom'.
The natives of the state are generally called Uttarakhandi, or more specifically either Garhwali or Kumaoni by their region of origin. According to the 2011 Census of India, Uttarakhand has a population of 10,086,292, making it the 20th most populous state in India.
The climate of Uttarakhand is temperate, marked by seasonal variations in temperature but also affected by tropical monsoons. January is the coldest month, with daily high temperatures averaging below freezing in the north and near 70 °F (21 °C) in the southeast. In the north, July is the hottest month, with temperatures typically rising from the mid-40s F (about 7 °C) to about 70 °F daily. In the southeast, May is the warmest month, with daily temperatures normally reaching the low 100s F (about 38 °C) from a low around 80 °F (27 °C). Most of the state’s roughly 60 inches (1,500 mm) of annual precipitation is brought by the southwest monsoon, which blows from July through September. Floods and landslides are problems during the rainy season in the lower stretches of the valleys. In the northern parts of the state, 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) of snowfall is common between December and March.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: March to April and September to October are considered the best time to visit Uttarakhand. The state has wonderful weather all through the year. Trekking, Paragliding, and The Char Dham Yatra are the most popular activities during Summer, which is also the Peak Season in Uttarakhand.
TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL AROUND THE YEAR
44.6F – 77F
7°C – 25°C
55.4F – 91.4F
13°C – 33°C
69.8F – 96.8F
21°C – 36°C
113MM – 599MM
62.6F – 86F
17°C – 30°C
105MM – 650MM
46.4F – 78.8F
8°C – 26°C
HOW TO REACH UTTARAKHAND:
Uttarakhand is gradually developing its connectivity with all three means of transport, however, roadways still remain the best means to explore this hilly state. There is efficient road connectivity both intrastate and interstate, making it easy for people to visit Uttarakhand any time of the year and that too comfortably. The state at the moment has two operational airports and a few railway stations as well.
The airports, where the flights from different states fly in, go by the name of Pantnagar Airport which is situated in the Pantnagar in Kumaon Region, Jolly Grant situated in Dehradun, and Naini Saini Airport in the Pithoragarh. Jolly Grant is the most well-connected of the three airports in Uttarakhand and Pithoragarh is yet to open to the public.
Easing up the connection for the tourists, Uttarakhand railways department is maintaining 16 big and small railway stations that connect Uttarakhand with Lucknow, Delhi, Kolkata, and to several other major cities, towns in India. Haridwar, Dehradun, Kathgodam, Rudrapur, Tanakpur, Pantnagar are a few railways stations that contribute to making traveling easy inside the state as well as from other parts of the country.
Roadways offer the best connectivity in the state. There are well-connected highways like NH 108, NH 109, NH 119, NH 121, NH 123, and NH 72A that connect the state with other parts of the country. With an efficient bus unit, Uttarakhand offers excellent accessibility. Taxis are also available to most of the destinations in the state, and thus, is the best mode of transport
PLACE OF INTEREST IN UTTARAKHAND:
As you would expect from a city located in the foothills of the Himalayas, Dehradun abounds in caves, waterfalls and natural springs. One such extremely popular spot is Robber's Cave, which is a natural cave surrounded by hills.
The fact that it was a popular holiday destination during the British era can be seen from British remnants in the city, such as the archaic architecture of the hotels and churches. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Mussoorie is The Mall (also known as the Mall Road), which is a slightly steep boulevard with eateries and other shops lining its entire stretch. From the little houses spread around the area to the architecture of even the lamp posts, The Mall gives off a distinct colonial vibe.
Founded by the British due to its resemblance to the Cumbrian Lake District, Nainital brims with elegant colonial structures that amplify the beauty of this place. It experiences a pleasant climate throughout the year, making Nainital a tourist getaway, especially preferred by families and honeymooners.
Ranikhet with its cool climate and simple natural beauty can freshen up your senses to the very core. It is also popular as the Headquarters of the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army and has the Kumaon Regimental Centre Museum. The museum has a splendid display of weapons, photos, etc. to introduce you to the grandness and significance of the military and its various historical instances. Ranikhet is popular for its views of the Nanda Devi Peak, trekking ranges, mountainous climbs, golf courses, orchards, and temples.
Rishikesh became known worldwide in the 1960s after The Beatles visited the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi here. Today, the place is popular as The Beatles Ashram which beckons tourists globally.
Once in every twelve years, Haridwar is host to the mega-gathering during the world-famous Kumbh Mela which sees millions of visitors from all over the country. Along with Prayagraj, Nashik, and Ujjain, Haridwar is one of the only four cities in India which can host the Kumbh Mela.
Famous for its rich cultural heritage, unique handicrafts, sumptuous cuisine, and magnificent wildlife, coupled with easy accessibility, Almora promises its tourists a visit full of fun and unforgettable moments. This agrarian town has two major rivers- Koshi (Kaushaki) and Suyal (Salmali) flowing through it.
Auli is a popular skiing destination in India because of its glittering slopes and clean environment. Dotted with apple orchards, oaks, and deodars, Auli is a popular hill town with numerous ski resorts situated amidst the Himalayan range. Located at 2800 meters above sea levels, it is home to mountain ranges of Nanda Devi, Mana Parvat and Kamat Kamet. Many religious destinations are also scattered around Auli. It is believed that Shankracharya had blessed Auli with his visit.
With mountain climbing as one of the popular activities in Chakrata, it is also becoming a popular destination for camping. With some of the beautiful waterfalls, especially Tiger Falls, Chakrata is a backpacker's paradise and an ideal location for people seeking offbeat tranquil destinations. The highest peak in the hilltown is Kharamba Peak, located at an altitude of 10,000 ft surrounded by dense forests and nature's bounties. The forests of Chakrata is home to diverse wildlife like wild fowls, panther and spotted deer.
The third temple of Panch Kedar is located in Tugnanath, around 3.5 km away from Chopta. Camping in the open grassy meadows of Chopta that slopes on softly, among alpine, pine, deodar, and rhododendron trees is soul-fulfilling. The snow-covered peaks of Trishul, Nanda Devi, and Chaukhambha dominate the panoramic views seen in Chopta.
The town was discovered by the British and got its name from the then Viceroy of India, Lord Lansdowne. The guesthouses here are fading reminders of the colonial period, and they offer a stunning view of the mountains from their balconies.
At the meeting point of the Himalayan ranges, Zanskar and Western and Eastern Himalayas, the valley of flowers discovered by Mountaineer Frank S Smith in 1931 have been declared a world heritage site for its wild untamed blooms surrounded by white peaks. Famous for its exotic varieties of medicinal herbs, it is also believed that Hanuman brought Sanjivani to the ailing Lakshmana from the valley of flowers. A perfect place to laze around the umpteen numbers of Himalayan water-falls, streams, and paddocks and let the beauty of the place sink in.
VALLEY OF FLOWERS ATTRACTIONS:
This sacred home of sage Asti is surrounded by undulating peaks, Himalayan glaciers, and thermal springs. Hindu mythologies hail the Yamuna as the sister of Yama- the God of Death, and it is believed that a bath in the Yamuna can make death painless.
Mythological stories will have you believe that following King Bhagirathi's penance spread over centuries, Goddess Ganga transformed herself into a river to wash away the sins of his forefathers. Lord Shiva then gathers Ganga into his matted locks to minimize the immense impact of her fall, and ever since the Himalayan glacier from which Ganga emerges has also been called Bhagirathi.
Situated at the height of 10,279 feet, the Badrinath Temple is believed to be originally established by the saint, Adi Shankaracharya. The temple houses a black stone idol of Lord Vishnu which is 1m tall and is considered to be one of the 8 Swayam Vyakta kshetras or self-manifested statues of Vishnu. It also finds its mention in the 108 Divya Desams devoted to Lord Vishnu in India.
Located at a distance of 62 km from Mussoorie, this little town in Uttarakhand is an offbeat destination located at a height of about 2200 meters above sea level.
The quaint town got its name from the belief that Lord Shiva killed a demon here and gave him Mukti or salvation. With lush green trails and narrow lanes, Mukteshwar is a popular destination for trekking, apart from rock climbing and rappelling.
A trekker's paradise, Binsar has a Zero point that provides a 360-degree view of the Himalayan ranges, which includes Nanda Devi, Kedarnath, Shivling, and Trishul. It requires a short trek of 2 km to reach the Zero Point. Watching sunrise and sunset are must-experience activities.
Bounded by a dense forest of oaks, pine, and shrubs, it is also known for a few ancient temples. The 17th-century Bhimeshwar Temple is a must-visit spot in the hilltown.
You can either stay at a heritage property in Landour or make it a day-long visit from Mussoorie. But if you prefer places that are less commercialized and crowded, you can ditch Mussoorie for Landour. You can check out this guide to Landour for more information.
For the scenic charm and to experience the serenity of the mountains. And it’s popular for its delicious cheese and homemade jams.
Home to temples across the entire village, this beautiful place is also renowned as the birthplace of the Chipko Movement. Enriched with flora and fauna, this village offers mesmerizing panoramic vistas that evidence depth and devotion to nature. People here survive on tourism and other small businesses.
Situated in a beautiful Soar valley and flanked by Nepal in the east and Tibet in the north, Pithoragarh promises of an unforgettable trip. With River Kali flowing through the town which is prettily adorned with tranquil temples, villages, fort, lush green forests, and natural resources, this place is a blessing in disguise for travel enthusiasts.
Perched between the borders of India, Tibet, and Nepal, Munsiyari is a base for three glaciers namely Namik, Milam, and Ralam Glaciers. The scenic village is often seen romancing with brilliant weather throughout the year and the stunning backdrop of Panchachuli (the five peaks), Nanda Devi, and Nanda Kot. Also dubbed 'Gateway to Johar Valley', Munsiyari is the starting point of Johar Valley which was the ancient trade route between Tibet and India.
The freshwater lakes are the highlight of this place and the biggest reason why one would love to come back here
Overlooking the confluence of rivers Alaknanda and Dhauliganga at Vishnu Prayag, Joshimath is also the winter home of Lord Badri as the idol is shifted from Badrinath to Joshimath during winters.
Lying at some distance from the bustling hill station of Nainital, this place is also attached to a legend. It is said that one glimpse of all nine corners of the lake with both feet on the earth can make the viewer disappear into the smoke to achieve nirvana. With ample opportunities to rejuvenate your body and soul, Naukuchiatal is blessed with panoramically splendid surroundings and a captivating lake. The beautiful weather throughout the year and several attractions like lakes and temples make sure to make your trip a beguiling experience.
Dusted with small huts, villages with their own culture and unique traditions, this quaint little town has an essence of the old world. Its beautiful backdrop of snow-covered Himalayas, sprawling alpine meadows, and thick cover of forests adds more charm to its beauty. Temple in typical North Indian style structure and salubrious weather throughout the year completes the beautiful sepia-tinted picture of this place. Situated at an altitude of 3265 m above the sea level, Madhyamaheshwar has spiritual vibes oozing out of it which are difficult to ignore.
In fact, the Tehri Garhwal derives its name from the word 'Triharia' which indicates a place where three kinds of sins can be cleared that is the result of Mansa, Vacha, and Kamana i.e. thought, word and deed respectively. New Tehri, the headquarters of the district is one of the only planned towns of Uttarakhand. Situated at an altitude of 1550-1950m above the sea level, it overlooks at the massive lake and equally, the impressive dam also serves as the major attraction of the area. The Old Tehri that was once heavily inhabited today lies under the water in ruins. Visiting this place is an experience that is worth remembering.
Shivratri Fair and Uttrayani Fair are celebrated in full zeal and enthusiasm here. If it is colorful fairs and festivals that attract you, or if hiking and trekking call you out of your comfort zone, you won't be disappointed.
Situated at an altitude of 1890m with Pine tree forests, meandering creek, Kausani is ideal for honeymooners, nature lovers, and travelers. Kausani receives snowfall during the winter months. Previously known as Valna, this place is blessed with many attractions and the sight of sunset so captivating, that it is sure to leave you completely enchanted.
With an abundance of lakes, gardens, temples, and even a national park, Kumaon is a place soaked in the culture of the hills and the natural bounty is the icing on top. The Kumaon experience borders on overwhelming all the senses, but makes for a memorable experience, gently dangling all its visitors by an ethereal thread of natural and cultural exuberance, reeling them back in always.
It houses two ancient temples namely Vishwanath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Ardhnareshwar Temple. Manikarnika Kund is another popular destination in the town. In fact, Guptkashi serves as a perfect stopover for those traveling to Kedarnath. The fantastic weather, lush green forests, and captivating views of Chaukhmaba Range along with its rich past and heritage, the town is a wholesome package for vacation makers.
Situated on the banks of River Kali on the Indo-Nepal border, Darchula follows the same traditions, customs, and lifestyle just like its counterpart in Nepal. A peaceful place adorned with very few attractions, Darchula is a good place to go only if you are looking for solitude or get away from tourists or city life.
Perched at an altitude of 1814m above the sea level, Pauri also serves as the headquarters to the district by the same name. It also houses many temples but what fascinates the visitors the most is the sunset here. Ending with the hues of pinks and purple, this most magnificent sight of sunset enthralls everyone with its stunning fusion of colors with the bang of bright orange. Situated on the northern slopes of Kandoliya Hills, visit this beautiful place for an unforgettable experience. It also receives snowfall during winters.
Offering spectacular views and mesmerizing panoramic vistas, the town boasts of being blessed by Mother Nature in its full glory. The town derives its name from the Hindu deity Lord Shiva who is said to have appeared at the place in the form of Lord Rudra.
Situated amidst rolling Himalayan ranges, Devprayag is a popular pilgrimage center for Hindus. With ancient temples and idols amidst lush green surroundings, this place is beautiful and serene. It derives its religious significance from the vibrant rivers & natural elements that surround it. Dasharathachal Peak, Chandrabadani temple, and Raghunathji temple are among some of the popular attractions here. Water sports and trekking are fun activities in Devprayag.
Established during the early 20th century by a British businessman - John Harold Abbott, Abbott Mount is a place that remains more or less unchanged. Perched at an elevation of 7000 ft. above sea level, it offers ravishing views of the snow-clad Himalayas and tranquil surroundings bringing peace as birds chirp through the wispy breeze.
MOUNT ABBOTT ATTRACTIONS:
Chaukori is one of those places that can become a part of your yearly escapades to detox your mind and body, alienating metropolitan experiences. Imagine waking up to the Himalayan scenery every morning - out your window. With days of exploring the wilderness, bird watching, and walks in the lush meadows or planning a day out, visiting the spiritual retreats that are the helm of the town, Chaukori lets you sit back and let its scenery and hospitality do the talking.
Bhowali's strategic location has lead to its popularity among tourists and also as a point of junction of the Nainital District. Located at an elevation of 1706m above the sea level, Bhowali is a town of panoramic vistas and bounty of nature. It is a getaway where one can experience peace and immense joy especially with extremely pleasant and salubrious weather throughout the year. Once tagged as a health resort before independence, today this beautiful place serves as a major hub of export of exotic fruits like apples, peaches, strawberries, plums, and apricots.
Champawat, too many people, remains one of the least developed and least populated districts of Uttarakhand. The sacredness of Champawat was personified in quintessential temples and carvings dating back to the Chand Rule. A gripping journey of self-exploration and challenging terrain, Champawat is not your usual retreat. You'll be pushed to your physical and mental limits, because this place gives you a lot to explore, without having to deal with any over intrusive and money gobbling guides around.
Previously the place was home to yogis and sages, the devotees of Guru Gorakhnath, which continued its spiritual importance with the Gurudwara Nanakmatta Sahib. It is believed that the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev visited here to meditate. A dam in the vicinity is also a popular destination among tourists, a perfect spot for angling.
56 km away from Dalhousie, Chamba is popular for its temples and adventure sports amidst the rolling Himalayan hills. If you enjoy adrenaline rushes, Chamba offers opportunities for rafting, trekking, camping, kayaking, and other such sports.
Karnaprayag is a city and municipal board in the Chamoli District in the Indian state of Uttarakhand located at an elevation of 1,451 meters. The other 4 prayags including Rudraprayag, Devprayag, Nandprayag, and Vishnuprayag along with Karnaprayag make for the Panch (five) Prayag. This destination has a lot of mythological significance given the fact that it is believed to be the place where Karna of Mahabharata worshipped the Sun God.
At a height of 11,000ft, the view from here is breathtaking. The valley offers a clear and surreal view of the Tibetan Plateau. Gartang Gali, a wooden walkway, is a main attraction of the valley said to have been built in the 17th Century. It was known as one of the main routes for trade between India & China in 1962.
Home to Lord Kedarnath and Lord Madhyamaheswar in the winters when Kedarnath becomes inaccessible due to heavy snowfall, Ukhimath is a deeply religious town with spirituality and devotion oozing through its lanes. Ukhimath also provides some great panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks which are covered in snow. It is a place fit for some time in solidarity and amidst a spirituality of significant religious center.
The small hillock is a wonderful little town brimming with greenery, beautiful landscapes, and peaceful charm. Didihat also has some remnants of its glorious past in the ruins of the forts and temples belonging to the Doti and Chand Rulers who ruled the lands some centuries ago. Didihat lies on the famous pilgrimage route of Kailash Mansarovar and is known to provide some amazing views of mighty Himalayan peaks such as Panchachuli and Trishul Peaks.
In the mighty Himalayas of Uttarakhand where hundreds of river and rivulets flow, Nandaprayag is a hub of spirituality and religion. The place situated at an altitude of 900 meters surrounded by wonderful mountains and beautiful sceneries. The town also used to be the capital of the erstwhile Yadu Kingdom whose king built the famous Nanda Temple. For all its religious importance, Nandaprayag is much beyond it, a place of seamless natural beauty.
Khirsu is one of those immaculately offbeat destinations which is unspoiled and sure to charm you with its soul-stirring beauty and quietude. The majestic temple of Ghandiyal Devi, located in its vicinity, adds to the attraction of the place. A truly offbeat destination, which has managed to slip under the radar of the popular tourist trail, Khirsu is a place for complete isolation and relaxation. This quaint town can be your ultimate go-to place for the rejuvenating vacation away from the daily grind. Khirsu's beauty is slowly being discovered with more and more tourists visiting the small town every year.
Shyamla Tal or Shyamla lake has been named so as it looks like a mirror to the sky reflecting its blue tint all over itself. Besides the lake, there is an old ashram dedicated to Sri Vivekanand and managed by the Ramakrishna Mission. Sitting by the lake and staring into the vast greenery and the Himalayan peaks one cannot help but be awestruck by the beauty of the place.
It is quite an experience to be amidst imposing peaks of the Himalayas, with cold air gushing into your face, carrying strong hints of spirituality and devotion, defining the town. The place is full of legends surrounding its origin while the temple is the heart and soul of the town.
At about 1800 meters above sea level, Manila is as beautiful as comes. Made the spiritual home of Goddess Manila by the Katyuri clan, Manila is famous among the locals for its Manila Devi Temple. The town once part of the Katyuri Kingdom is beautiful in its location surrounded by verdant hills of the Himalayas.
Trekkers walk through this route in search of a spiritual journey to have a glimpse of Om Parvat where the Sanskrit word Om take formation naturally. The entire expanse of Chhota Kailash gets beautifully reflected in Parvati Tal, on the foothill. The trek passes through Darma, Byans & Chaudans valley which offer mesmerizing views of wildflowers & fruits, beautiful waterfalls and dense forest. Being an important pilgrimage for the Hindus, the trek passes through Kutti village which is named after "Kunti", mother of Pandavas in Mahabharata.
On your way, and from atop the hill, wonderful views of magnificent Himalayan peaks like Chaukhamba Peak, Dronagiri and Neelkanth can be seen. Kartik Swami is a fascinating and unique place to visit and experience.
There are a number of British Era bungalows that give Peora Village a rustic vibe. The scenic beauty with snow-capped mountains, juicy fruit-laden trees, green meadows, and a variety of fauna is inexpressible. This place is perfect to unwind and spend some quality time with your loved ones or to cherish solitude. Peora is a hidden gem that is bountiful in scenic beauty and picturesque views that make it a perfect getaway.
NATIONAL PARK & WILDLIFE IN ASSAM:
Famous for its wildlife safaris, Jim Corbett National Park is one of the few tiger reserves in India which allows overnight stays. Home to more than 650 species of rare and migratory birds, it is a haven for bird watchers. The most popular attraction at Corbett National Park is Dhikala, a forest lodge located on the border of Patil Dun Valley, which is known for the stunning location and rich wildlife.
The Jim Corbett National Park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park and is named after Jim Corbett who is a famous hunter and naturalist. It was the first place where Project Tiger was launched in 1973. The park is spread over an area of more than 500 sq km and is divided into 5 zones: Bijrani, Dhikala, Jhirna, Domunda, and Sonanandi to promote tourism.
Permits are required for a specific zone and the safari is allowed only in that zone. Only 180 vehicles are allowed to enter the national park in a day. Jim Corbett National Park remains closed from July to October during the monsoons. However, Jhirna, Dhela, and Sitabani tourism zones remain open for tourists throughout the year.
Best Time To Visit: November to February
Famous for its wildlife, especially for tigers and elephants, Rajaji National Park has recently received the status of a Tiger Reserve by the Government of India. Named in honor of C. Rajagopalchari, this national park spreads over 3 districts of Uttarakhand including Dehradun, Haridwar, and Pauri Garhwal. This area is also enriched with valuable fossils that date back to as old as 10 million years old. The forest area is popular for Sal, Teak, and other shrubs. You should explore the wilderness and rich diversity of Himalayan lives here with a Jeep Safari or Elephant Safari organized by the Forest Department, the 34 km jungle track is a major attraction here. You can spot Asian Elephants, Tiger and King Cobra, Panther, Bear, Chital, Sambar, Wild Boar, Kakar, Python, Monitor Lizard, Wild Cats.
You can also spot many birds including many species of migratory birds, especially after monsoons.
Best Time To Visit: November to June
Govind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary came into existence in the year 1955 as a part of the Upper Tons Valley in Uttarakhand. The area, where this national park lies, is rich in its past and certain legends are associated with it as well. A mythological instance is directly linked to the epic Ramayana. It is believed that when Lord Laxman - Lord Rama's brother - was severely hurt during the war, Hanuman came to this very region in search of 'Mrithasanjeevani' - the wonder medicine.
Moving on to comparatively recent times, the British supervised this area during their reign in India for extracting timber, providing forest rest houses, and building roads throughout the region for easier access. Post-independence, the state forest department took charge of these responsibilities resulting in the increase in forest rules and regulations and a decrease in timber extraction.
The Govind Pashu Vihar lies in the higher reaches of the Garhwal Himalayas, covering a total area of 957.97 square kilometers, and has an altitude ranging from 1400 to 6323 meters above sea level. The entrance and starting point of this sanctuary is Naitwar.
The entrance charges into the Govind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary are minimal and subject to change. It is therefore advised to contact the authorities to get more information about the fees. For those who wish to visit this national park will need to get in touch with the Deputy Director of the park posted at Purola to get all the necessary permits and permissions required for entering the Govind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Best Time To Visit: May to October
The area was given the status of a national park in the year 1982 to protect and conserve the exotic flora and fauna in the region and to save it from further environmental degradation. Today, the Nanda Devi National Park is one of the most important ecological hotspots of the world and is home to a variety of birds, mammals, plants, trees, and butterflies.
The Nanda Devi National Park offers marvelous opportunities for trekking and hiking and is indeed an adventure enthusiast's dream come true. In fact, the trek to the base camp is considered to be one of the most challenging ones. There are also countless opportunities here of exploring the beauty and grandeur of nature.
Apart from housing the fir and pine trees, the Benog Wildlife Sanctuary also hides some medicinal plants. Also known as Vinog Mountain Quail Sanctuary, it is spread across 339 hectares. The abundant wildlife paired with stunning views of the enveloping scenic vistas makes Benog Wildlife Sanctuary a must-visit, especially for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.
Best Time To Visit: November to June
Best Time To Visit: October to March
There is a government rest house inside the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary and other private properties where you can stay for the night. Nevertheless, when you visit Binsar, you still get the feeling of stepping into the real wilderness where nature has the last word. You do not get a car or jeep to roam around the forest - it needs to be done on foot. It is an excellent opportunity for the adventure-hearted to be one with nature and take in the beauty and mystic appeal of it all. There are some trekking trails as well, established over the years for tourism purposes - some easy to walk, others a bit strenuous. However, all of them guarantee a great deal of fun and adventure, that is a given.
Another great attraction of the forest is the majestic panoramic view of the Himalayas, stretching for over 300 kilometers right into our neighboring country Nepal is a huge attraction of Binsar sanctuary, more than wildlife or anything else.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS OF UTTARAKHAND:
On this day, people worship the sun at sunrise and bathe in the river waters. The locals prepare Khichdi and til ka laddoo. The popular fair of Uttarayani also takes place during this time.
Young girls are an integral part of this festival of Uttarakhand. They go from house to house, singing the folk song of 'Phool Dei' with offerings of jaggery, rice, and coconut. It is believed that they bless the homes by placing flowers and rice on the doorsteps. In return, the young girls are offered along with sweets and blessings for their acts.
This festival celebrates the defeat of Zorawar Singh's army, a general of the Sikh Empire who tried to invade this region in 1841. As per the local stories, it was the women who defended this region against the soldiers who tried to loot the villages and hid in the Kandali shrub. In this process, the shrub was also destroyed. Another legend states that a young boy died after applying the Kandali plant on his wounds, and subsequently his mother cursed the plant and ordered the women to rip it out of the ground when it reached its full bloom.
In the Hindu religion, the Banyan tree is considered holy. The origin of this festival can be traced to the Mahabharata in which Savitri, whose husband Satyavan died within a year of their marriage, fasts and prays, and finally her devotion pays off as her husband returns from the dead. It is under the banyan tree that these acts take place.
This festival takes place on Amavasya (day of the full moon) in the month of Jyestha, i.e., June.
As per legend, ancient times saw people worship their deity in a temple nearby and due to some friction between the followers of the two groups, a brawl broke out that lead to bloodshed. The leader of the group that lost the fight was beheaded and a stone (Oda) was placed near it to commemorate the fallen leader. With the numerous traditions on display and the lip-smacking Indian delicacy of 'Jalebi' being an integral part of the fair, the Syalde Bikhauti Mela is one of cultural convergence.
In regards to the actual ceremony, it can be broadly classified under three categories: worship and ritualistic services forming the first set of activities followed by numerous pastoral activities. To conclude the ceremony, songs are recited and people are seen to be wearing marks that express the rich cultural heritage of Uttarakhand. Traditional dances like that of the 'Chanchari' are performed, thereby making the entire festival a wholesome and immersive experience.
As per the legend, Nanda Devi was the family Goddess of the Chand Kings, rulers of the Kumaon region. In the 17th century, King Dyot Chand built the temple of Nanda Devi in Almora. Thus, from then onwards, the Nanda Devi Fair is organized every year to worship the Goddess of Kumaon, Nanda Devi and it symbolizes the economic and cultural prosperity of the region. People participate in the procession which carries the dola (palanquin) of Nanda Devi and her sister, Sunanda.
The pilgrims participating in this Yatra are called kānvadiyas. Kānvadiyas from numerous villages walk all the way from their villages (or towns) to the abovementioned places (mostly to Haridwar, as the other two are pretty inaccessible). They collect Gangajal (the holy waters of the River Ganga) and walk all the back home to offer it to their local Shiva temples as a symbol of thanksgiving to the Lord.
Bagwali Pokhar fair is held at Bagwali Pokhar in Dwarahat in the Ranikhet block of Almora district.
During the fair, lots of traditional activates take place. There is a high cultural spirit among the people. A large number of people from different rural villages of Uttarakhand participate in the fair. Various culture programs are performed by the flok artists of Uttarakhand.
It is believed that Kauravas visited Bagwali Pokhar during exile when they were in search of Pandavs. On Bagwali Pokhar Mela ceremony of offering oda with nagadas, sankhanad and two pairs of drums take place. Incredible local Sarankar dance is also performed. The folk dances and songs performed reflected the pristine heritage of the state.
On the day of the fair, the entire Bora tribes of Pulai and Chapad villages come to participate in the fair playing drums, singing, and dancing. They carry with them a long flaming torch made with branches of the pine tree. The torch is buried near the temple and with the burning flam spreading light, people dance in Jhora Chachari and pray at Saimdevta temple at midnight. After prayers and worship, the people leave for their homes. Another popular event in Bairani Fair was playing cards. Playing cards were so popular at Baurani Fair that the fair was also known as “JUWA MELA”.
Baurani Fair is celebrated every year 15days after Diwali at the Baurani Temple in Baurani.
In earlier times, trade was an important aspect of these fairs. Horses were in great demand then for transportation vehicles and were trade on a high scale. The modern developments have led to the establishment of shops in every region and have also eliminated the need for horses.
Along with tread, the fair had an important religious aspect which is still prevalent. The revered temple of Maa Balasundari Devi is located on the route to Chaiti Fair. It is believed that praying at Balasundari Devi during Navaratri, especially during Ashtami and Navami, fulfills all the wishes asked for.
This grand fair takes place at Chandrabadni Temple in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, 36kms ahead of Devprayag. The temple looms at a height of 2253 meters above sea level on Chandrabadani Mountain and is one of the renowned Sakti Peeth of Garhwal. This holy shrine is devoted to Goddess Sati and it is said that Sati Devi torso fell at this same place. Chandrabadani fair is held at the temple premises annually on Baisakh in the month of April. Devotees in large numbers take part in the vibrant fair.
Chaupakhya Festival is celebrated on Vijaya Dashami, i.e on the 10th day of Navratris.
Chaumi Devta is the chief deity of the people of Rayansi and they celebrate Chaupakhya Festival with great zeal and enthusiasm. The festival is celebrated at the open space in front of Chaumi Devta Temple. On Vijaya Dashami, the villagers pray at the temple and the shaman of Chaumi Devta is carried in a palanquin for a religious precession.
The people of 15-20 villagers of Dharchula and Gorikhal regions reach Kedardwe and Najurikote every third year on Bhado Purnmasi. The principal yatra starts from village Khela near Tawaghat. It goes through thick forests, rocky lands, and Bugyals. People go in barefoot eve these days.
Chhipla Jaat expresses different aspects of human faith. The barefoot journey, worship, bath, collective food, songs and dances, and the possession of the body of Bonia by the folk god are the essential parts of Chhipla Jaat.
Gabladev Fair is celebrated every year on the third of Bhadrapad month. Bhadrapad month normally begins around 22-23rd August. The date of the fair is finalized by the intellectuals of Dantu and Dugat villages. The fair held for 5-6days.
Gaindi Khagoti Fair honors the tradition of the search of rhinoceros by the Pandavas by the event at the Devi’s Temple located at the center of the village.
Gananath Fair is celebrated every year on Kartik Purnima which falls 15days after Maidani Diwali.
The villages in Singtur Patti is divided into two regions-Pansai and Sathi. Pansai represents the Pandavas and Sathi represents the Kuranvas. In this region, the number of Kuaravas is believed to be 60, instead of 100.
The Kalsin Temple contains bows, arrows tridents, and other common weapons of Hindu mythology. On the day of the fair, people pray by tying black colored clothes and lighting divas in front of the weapons. People offer bells, flags, etc. in the temple of the fulfillment of their wishes.
In the olden days, the fair used to be celebrated for a week but now it is celebrated just for a day.
Kamaleshwar Fair is held in Kamleshwar Mahadev Temple located on the banks of Alaknanda River in the historic town of Srinagar in Garhwal.
On this day, people visit Kamleshwar Temple throughout the day to worship Lord Kamleshwar. Along with religious ceremonies, people also engage in buying and selling of essential commodities.
Kot Ki Mai fair is celebrated at a high peak located in Gwaldam Marg, 3kms ahead of Baijnath in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.
Maun Mela is a very old fair that has been celebrated for ages in Tehri. It is said that the Maun fair has been started by Tehri king, Narendra Shah at Nilhad River.
The villagers gather around bonfires and spend the night celebrating by singing folk songs and dancing to regional music. They take bath in the Saryu River in the early morning and offer their prayers at the Shiva Temple.
Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. It is a three-day fair starting normally from 15th August till 22nd August.
The main attraction of Sameshwarotsav is the practice of certain rituals by the shaman during the fair. In the course of the three days, the shaman engages in marking and aiming at mulberry and walnut trees located at the backside of the temple, walking barefoot on the battle axe, and carrying out rituals for sacrificing goats and sheep.
Normally, Saton-Athon Fair is celebrated on the 7th / 8th day of Bhadrapad month (mid-August / Mid September). However if the first 15days of Bhadrapad falls during Saurmas Ashwin, Saton-Athon is celebrating during Janmasthami, which falls on the eight-day of Krishna Paksha in Shraavan month (mid-July–mid-August).
During the fair, the offering of the state flower ‘Brahmkamal’ is considered very auspicious. People in large number pluck and offer this flower at the Someshwar people.
One of the main features of the Somnath Fair is visiting the banks of Ramganga beside Someshwar Temple and participating in throwing stones in the river. The competition of throwing the stones and splashing the water is held between the two pillars of Palipachau-Masiwal and Kanudiya.
In essence, Syalpati Fair is a celebration rejoicing the arrival of Dhyano (married daughters) to their parental homes.
The fair is said to have begun in the year 1940 by the nationalists of the Thal village in memory of the infamous Jalianwala Bagh massacre.
On the first day of the festival the female bung up the soil in the wicker basket and plant seven kinds of seeds in them. On this day mud sculptures are made of Gauri, Maheshwar, and Ganesha for respect. Individuals laid the blades of recently cut Harela's on their heads besides lead it to their friends and relatives.
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