A blend of various physiographic features from Himalayas to the Tarai belt, from Bugyals to Valley Zone Uttarakhand is considered to be one of the best tourist zones. The state comes into existence as a Himalayan state on 9th November 2000 and since then it had gain importance due to its distinct culture and natural features.
With 53,483 km2 of area Uttarakhand ranks 19th in terms of size. About 86% of this area is mountainous which makes Uttarakhand a Himalayan state.
This small state of India comprises of 13 districts and has many unique features engulfed in it. Each district of Uttarakhand is famous for its distinct feature. Dehradun the westernmost district is also the capital city of Uttarakhand. It is also known for its valley structure and cool climate. The well-known Forest Research Institute of India, Indian Military Academy, Survey of India are also situated here.
Uttarakhand also shares international boundary with Nepal and China, which also makes it a strategically important state.
Physical Features of Uttarakhand
Mountain Ranges and Peaks -
The Himalayan district of Uttarakhand mainly Chamoli Uttarkashi and Pithoragarh are known for various peaks, bugyals, temples and rivers. Some of the highest peaks of Uttarakhand are Nanda Devi (7816 m), Kamet (7756 m) Sunanda Devi (7434 m). They are snow covered mountain peaks and some of the famous glaciers are situated here. Pindari Glacier, Satopanth Glacier, Gangotri Glacier etc are some of the famous glaciers in Uttarakhand which are also famous among tourist for trekking. Nanda Devi is the highest mountain peak of Uttarakhand. Nanda Devi Rajjat is a Hindu pilgrimage festival celebrated in Chamoli Garhwal, once every 12 years which attracts large number of people.
Another place of scenic beauty in Uttarakhand are Bugyals. Bugyals are high altitude alpine grassland and are also referred as natures own garden. Auli bugyal, Gorson bugyal, Bedni bugyal are some of the famous bugyal found here.
The high mountain peaks of the Himalaya give birth to many rivers. Bhagirathi, Alaknanda, Mandakani, Sharda are some of the most important rivers of not only Uttarakhand but of whole India. Confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi at Devprayag gives rise to the mighty river Ganga. Although all rivers are considered holy and sacred in Hindu religion, river Ganga is considered holiest among all. These glacial rivers are the source of spirituality and almost all the temples are situated in the banks of these rivers. Local people consider them as deities and worship them. These rivers are the source of lifeline as majority of water for irrigation comes from these rivers.
Uttarakhand also known as Devbhoomi, or the Adobe of Gods has numerous temples which are very sacred to the peoples and holds high spiritual value. Jageshwar Dham of Almora, Triyugi Narayan of Rudraprayag, Raghunath Mandir of Devprayag, Bhoothnath Mandir of Haridwar the Char dhams – Gangotri, Yamnotri, Badrinath, Kedarnath are the most visited temples.
Char Dham of Uttarakhand are one of the most visited temples and every year a huge rush could be seen in the month of May and June. People from all over India and world comes to visit these places.
Places to Visit -
Apart from these Uttarakhand is home to a number of hill station like Mussoorie, Nainital, Kausani , Auli etc which are a great tourist attraction. Haridwar and Rishikesh are considered to be most sacred places and visited by large number of people each year. Rishikesh the Yoga capital of the world has tourists from every corner of the world throughout the year. It is also a place for adventure sports where many people visit for white water river rafting, bungee jumping etc.
Uttarakhand is not only known for his natural beauty but also praise for its unique culture. Most of the tribes lives in this mountainous region such as Jaunsari, Bhutia, Raji, Tharu, Boksa. These tribal people have different culture but they have maintained harmony with nature and learned how to live in this difficult terrain.
Many people have started home stays in their villages which gives people of urban areas an opportunity to live with rural people and experience their culture, food and lifestyle.
Despite being such a rich state, Uttarakhand is yet to recognise its full tourism potential. Under developed roads, hilly area, landslides are some of the major problems which causes hinderance in the development of the state. Despite this government both Central and state has taken several steps to recognise its potential in order to boost tourism here. For the Char Dham Yatra the all-weather road is being constructed for safe and secure stay of people. homestay have been constructed in various villages with that a number of recent developments had made to raise to get attracted towards this Himalayan state.
Many others steps have been taken by the government in order to improve tourism in the region such as –
1) India’s first Cryptography being opened in Deoband ,Chakrata, Dehradun
2) India’s first Talu’s Garden in Pithoragar.
3)India’s first forest medical centre in Ranikhet, Almora .
4)India’s first Moss Garden in Haldwani, Nainital
5)Beetle house in Chamoli
6) Garstang Gali the ancient trade route between India and Tibet was re-opened for people.