Uttarakhand India - Uttaranchal Tourism Holiday Guide
Post Indian Independence, the region merged with Uttar Pradesh until its separation in 2000 following a separatist movement that saw the area re-named Uttaranchal. Several years later, the new state was again renamed, this time to Uttarakhand, meaning Northern Country. Carved out of Uttar Pradesh, hilly Uttarakhand borders both Tibet and Nepal coving an area known for its high mountains and holy waterways. The area attracts people with its range of activities from exciting jeep safaris, thrilling rock climbing, biking, and trekking to the more relaxed reserves and yoga.
Historically the area was divided into two distinct districts, that of Garhwal and Kumaon. Even to this day, some people of the region still see themselves as part of one of these two hill kingdoms.
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Because of the hilly terrain, the climate is diverse depending on the altitude. April sees the start of the pilgrimage season with warm weather before the monsoon season arrives. The monsoons arrive usually in July and August which makes it difficult and somewhat dangerous to trek because of the landslides that often block road access. Post monsoon until October is also a good time for trekking. Beware that the Hill stations can become very cold in winter so make sure you bring suitable clothes.
The most popular tourist areas in Uttarakhand are Corbett, Nainital, Dehradun and Rishikesh. Corbett is known for its Tiger Reserve, Nainital for its accessible trekking, Dehradun for its flourishing Tibetan Buddhist community and Rishikesh for its pilgrimages.
The main attraction of Corbett is its National Park, declared a Tiger Reserve in 1973. The reserve aimed to stop the extinction of the Indian Tiger and became an inspiration to the Project Tiger Program. You can go on a park safari to see the range of wildlife present in the reserve though be sure to bring plenty of mosquito repellent and a pair of binoculars. Beyond the reserve, there is also the Corbett Museum and Garjia Temple. The Garjia Temple is on the route to Ranikhet and is immersed in the river Kosi where thousands come to visit from all over the state.
Nainital, although known for its wonderful trekking opportunities, also has several other local attractions. Often called the ‘Lake District’, boating and paddling are favourite tourist activities upon this beautiful lake. In the evenings it becomes even more striking with the lights from the hills reflecting in the waters. Also in this area is the Govind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo. With many stunning animals, it is a great place to visit. Note that it is not open on Mondays or national holidays.
The enormous Great Stupa and the enthralling Buddha statue can be found in the region of Dehradun. The Great Stupa Temple, standing at a massive 60m, is thought to be the world’s tallest Stupa, sits amongst the peaceful green gardens. Furthermore you can find the Lord Buddha monument here, specially created by hand here for the peace of the world. It towers at an impressive 35m, dedicated to the famous Dalai Lama.
Rishikesh is the starting point to the Char Dham pilgrimage and is known as the gateway to the Himalayas. As well as being a holy place of pilgrimage, it is also well known for its adventure sports such as rafting and hiking. Be sure to spot the Shiva statue on the bank of the Ganges River, a fantastic view.
Other places to see and things to do include the Jawahar aquarium and Kempty Falls in Mussoorie, rafting and kayaking the Ganges and Alaknanda rivers, skiing at Auli, beaches between Riahikesh and Lakshman Jhula and the copious unique treks in the glorious mountains.
Uttarakhand to Traditional Hindu is the “land of God” as many pilgrimage places are found here, a great place to cleanse your soul. It is completely up to you how your trip here plays out, whether a relaxing, cultural journey is your cup-of-tea or an adventure filled escape is up your alley, this northern state has it all. Uttarakhand, nestled on the southern slope of the Himalaya range is the perfect holiday spot to escape the crowded cities and enjoy the fresh air of the many hill stations.