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Uttarakhand

Written By Harinder Paul on Mar 16, 2011 | 3:40 PM

Uttarakhand - A charming state of North India

Once known as Uttaranchal, Uttarakhand was the part of Uttar Pradesh till Nov 8, 2000 A.D. The beautiful state is located in the northern Indian, and is bounded by the mighty Himalayas. Uttarakhand shares its international borders with China and Nepal and is neighboured by the states Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Dehra Dun, the largest city in Uttarakhand is the provincial capital of the state.

Uttarakhand is blessed with towering peaks, lakes and streams, rolling forests, pilgrimage centres and all of it welcome a great party. As an adventure sports destination and a major pilgrimage centre of Hindus, Uttarakhand generates a good revenue from tourism enterprises. The pleasant climate also makes it a popular vacations spending resort and an escape from the scorching north Indian sun.

Uttarakhand is dominated with the presence of mighty peaks and hills of the Himalayas. The state is primarily divided into two zones - Garhwal and Kumaon. There are 13 districts in all; seven in the Garhwal zone and six in the Kumaon zone. The two zones see a multitude of sky reaching peaks that form parts of the Greater Himalayas. These mountains are also the source of the great rivers of India - the Ganga and the Yamuna.

Some of the high peaks in the region include Bandarpunch (6,316 m), Yogeshwar (6,678 m), Sri Kailash (6,932 m), Kedarnath (6,490 m), Bhirigupanth (6,772 m), Chaukhamba (7,068 m), Kamet (7,756 m), Mana Peak (7,272 m), Abl Gamin (7,355 m), Mukut (7,242 m). These snow clad peaks give rise to a number of lakes that flow down and join the tributaries. The slopes at certain places are also ideal for winter sports. One such destination is Auli.

History of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand happens to be one of the cultural places in India where the dominant culture and civilization emerged and evolved centuries ago. One of the earliest references is found in Vedas and epics. A quick look at Uttarakhand's history reveals the influence of the following empires - Kushanas, Kudinas, Kanishka, Samudra, Gupta, Palas, Chandras, Pawaras and the British. The popular culture, however, flourished at all times and since the time of Shankaracharya the place has retained its values and sanctity.

Tourist Destinations of Uttarakhand
The fascinating terrain, peaks, glaciers, lakes, sanctuaries and holy centre makes Uttarakhand a favorite hunt for tourists. There are quite many places that guarantee the best of the vacations at Uttarakhand. The places are famous for their unique beauty, opportunities they provide and much revered places for Hindus. Tourist usually reach here seeking a summer resort to get rid of the extreme temperature in north, adventure sports and for pilgrimage. The famous destinations include Dehra Dun, Nainital, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Mussorie, Kausani, Tehri and Auli.

Pilgrimage in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is one of the major pilgrimage centres and much revered place for the Hindus. Both Garhwal and Kumaon zone feature a number of important sites. However, the four sites at Garhwal - Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath, are primary places of visit; two other being Hemkund Sahib and Joshimath. In Kumaon zone the sacred places include Baijhnath, Bageshwar, Jageshwar, Punyagiri and Ritha Sahib.

Adventure in Uttarakhand
The low lying southern tracts of the Himalayas and the towering northern peaks puts Uttarakhand on the adventure destinations map in the Indian sub continent. As if this were not enough, the rushing waters and gentle slopes open a hundred doors for various outdoor sports activities. White water rafting, Skiing, Paragliding and trekking are some of the popular events conducted in the state. There are multiple destinations, each with a scope and thrill of its own.

Wildlife in Uttarakhand
The lower Himalayan tracts in Uttarakhand see lush vegetation and forest growth. The foothills of Uttarakhand support great many species of wild animals. The dense out growing forests provide a perfect cover for the wild species, most importantly to the tigers. The lush vegetation also supports a number of game species for the tiger. The swamps and water holes further make up the habitat for a number of amphibious species. Corbett National Park, one of the famous wildlife reserves also fall in the region. Other important wildlife sanctuaries are Valley of Flowers , Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajaji National Park and Nanda Devi National Park.

Yoga and Meditation in Uttarakhand
The unique geographical features of Uttarakhand contribute to the good will of the state in more than one way. The natural ambience, isolation and un-interrupted solitude pours new life and lifts up the spirits. For centuries now, ordinary people as well the scholars have taken advantage and made incredible personal benefits. Rishikesh, one such place has developed into a popular yoga and meditation centre. The Himalayas are believed to effect in more ways than can be explained.

How to Reach Uttarakhand
Buses, trains, air flights provide the means of access to the state from long distances. For commutation buses, taxis and auto rickshaws serve the purpose. The popular modes are as follows:

Air: Two airports deliver their services at Uttarakhand, namely Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun and Patnagar Airport. These airports are connected with limited flights from the national capital New Delhi.

Rail: Northern Railways of the Indian Railways Division, connects the towns of the state with the rest of the country. Some major rail heads include Dehradun, Haridwar, Kathgodam and Roorkee.

Road: Dehradun and Nainital are two main entry points in the state. Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand, regularly sees buses arriving from Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Nainital, likewise, is connected by bus services from many neighbouring states and cities.

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