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Uttarakhand, a state in northern India crossed by the Himalayas, is known for its Hindu pilgrimage sites. Rishikesh, a major centre for yoga study, was made famous by the Beatles’ 1968 visit. The city hosts the evening Ganga Aarti, a spiritual gathering on the sacred Ganges River. The state’s forested Jim Corbett National Park shelters Bengal tigers and other native wildlife.
The 27th state of the Republic of India, Devbhoomi Uttarakhand that was formed in the year 2000 after being separated from the large state of Uttar Pradesh, is a destination to explore the riches of Indian culture, history, and natural beauty. The state that borders Tibet to the north; Nepal to the east; the state of Uttar Pradesh to the south; and Himachal Pradesh to the west and north-west, is divided into regions, Garhwal and Kumaon, which further break into 13 districts.
Uttarkhand is spread out on an area of about 53,000 km square. It is spread across the border of The Himalayas. It is a once in a lifetime occurrence for someone looking for a holy journey.
Uttarkhand the state in the Northern part of India is a very exquisite place one must have on their list. The state is famous for its rich food, culture, people and many more things which are bizarre to Uttarakhand making it a blissful and divine experience for anyone visiting here. The place has some gorgeous temples, natural parks which are so rare and unique and let’s not forget the holy, the river flowing from the head of Lord Shiva.
In this article, we will know some interesting facts about Uttarakhand everyone must know. So, let’s get started.
Uttarkhand is very popularly known as “Devabhumi” which means that Uttarkhand is the land of many lords. It is known as “Devabhumi” because of the numerous amounts of temples, pilgrimages or the yatras that people take from many different places to reach the Ganges. A place that completes all your wishes and fulfils your soul, this is the magic of Devabhumi. One can find many Ashrams and temples at every corner especially in the city of Rishikesh.
World Heritage Sites
Uttarakhand is very popular for the scenic beauty that it carries. It is home to 2 very famous world heritage sites. One of them is Valley of Flowers which is a blessing to the eye. It is an Indian National Park and has a variety of flora and fauna. One can find many rare and endangered species of animals and plants which are special to the national park. The next National Park is Nanda Devi National Park. It is home to endangered species such as the Asiatic Black Bear, Snow Leopard, Brown Bear and the Blue Sheep.
This is not just a normal holy Shiva temple but, it is the highest Shiva temple in the world! It is believed to have a very rich history which even goes back to the story of Pandavas and brave tales of Mahabharata. Tungnath itself means Lord of the peaks and that is how the name is set in. It has thousands of visitors every year and is also believed to be 1000 years old.
Uttarakhand, apart from holding the highest Shiva Temple also hold the tallest dam in India. It has a height of about 260 meters and is the fifth tallest dam in the world. It is a river built on the Bhagirathi River and is a multipurpose dam. The power that is generated through this dam is consumed by Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir.
Ganga aarti is always done at dusk. This is something a person doesn’t want to miss out on. A huge gathering comes near the banks of the Ganges on the Triveni Ghat, then later an aarti or a puja is held for 45 minutes where all the priests and people pray to the Ganges. The Ganga River is also known to help wash all the sins of a person after dipping into its pure and holy water.
Every state is popular for different reasons but Uttarakhand is famous for its amazing dish called Aaloo ke Gutke. This dish is best served for breakfast but one can have it anytime you want. As the name suggests, it is a dish with its main ingredient as Aaloo (potato) which is then cut into small cubes then put into a mix of spices and then put into hot oil and cooked until semi-fried. It is mostly served throughout the state and is a must-try whenever visiting Uttarakhand.
The state of Uttarakhand is famous for many things but the one person that carried the name of the state to many heights and places. She was the first Indian woman to conquer Mount Everest who belonged to the Uttarkashi District. Later, she even received the Padma Bhushan civilian award making the entire state and the country proud.
Uttarakhand has many places which make it a brilliant tourist destination. Places like Mussorie provide an excellent location for a honeymoon with the misty mornings and hot chai in the morning to Kababs on the street food in the evening. Another famous place in the state is Rishikesh. This city has a very famous name for being on the banks of the River Ganges. One of the holiest and pure cities. Temples and Ashrams can be found very readily.
Second Highest Peak
Uttarakhand not only has some beautiful rivers, dams, natural parks but it is also famous for having the second-highest peak in the entire country. Nanda Devi is the highest peak in Uttarakhand and the second highest in the entire country with a height of 7816 meters. The second and the third highest peak in Uttarakhand are Kamat and Badrinath with a height of 7756 meters and 7138 meters.
Love for the nation
Uttarakhand is known for the highest number of people that register themselves into the Indian Army. The love that the people have for their nation is unjustifiable. The people are loving and caring with a soft heart. The state has the highest number of officers in the Indian Army.
Dip in Holy Ganga
Take a dip in Ganga in Haridwar. The chilled water opens every pore of your body and refreshes you. Because it is winter, very few people are interested in taking a dip in the holy river, hence you get a lot of space and time. Lastly, every year from Dushehra to Diwali, Har ki Pauri in Haridwar is cleaned. So one will find a cleaner river basin during winters.
Do a winter trek. It is the most obvious thing. Treks like Kuari pass, Chopta-Chandrashila etc are super beautiful (and not that difficult) during winters. A must-do.
Ski in Auli
If lucky, you can get to ski in Auli. Though the ski season is mainly late Jan and Feb, many years of early heavy snowfall will allow people to ski in December as well. Worth giving a try.
Cultural Fares of Dehradoon
Traditional cultural fares of Doon. December sees Doon hosting Virasat – a cultural fare of Uttarakhand. If you want to buy traditional Uttarakhand clothes, utensils, food items, jewellery, home decor etc, then this is a must-visit fare. Similarly, the Mussoorie winter carnival happens mostly in December around Christmas.
Chance to offer prayers to Lord Kedarnath, Lord Badrinath, Goddess Ganga, Goddess Yamuna and likewise many other popular shrines without actually visiting the shrines. Trek to Kedarnath, for example, is quite strenuous and everyone cannot complete it (old or sick people). So what to do? Simply visit Uttarakhand in Winters. It so happens that lords and Goddesses of higher altitude come down to some lower altitude place during winters. Hence one can come in winter, visit the easily accessible (at the road head!) lower altitude place and pay their prayers to the lord of the goddess!
Here is the list of the shrines and their lower altitude winter home:
- Kedarnath – Ukhimath
- Badrinath – Joshimath
- Gangotri – Mukhba
- Yamunotri – Kharsali
- Madmaheshwar – Ukhimath
- Rudranath – Gopeshwar
- Tungnath – Makku
Above were the popular things to do.
If you still have time left, then there are innumerable surprises hidden in the beautiful Uttarakhand Himalayas. For example here are details of various things one can do in December in a place called Mandal in Chamoli district:
- a three day festival is organised in Anusuya Devi temple (for which you trek 5 KMs from a small village called Mandal in Chamoli district) in December. It is a local affair, and hence absolutely hidden from the outside world. The place and the trek to it is very beautiful.
- There is a cave (Atrimuni Ashram) near the same temple (some 2 KM of trekking) which can be accessed only by crawling over a narrow ridge in front of a beautiful waterfall and with a river flowing below!.
- Two KMs from Mandal (the place from where one treks to Ansuya Temple), there is a place called Bairangana. It has a Trout (considered world’s tastiest fresh water fish) farm and the adjoining Bhilangana river is full of trout as well!
All the above info is of a single place. Like this, there are numerous other small things spread across Uttarakhand. For such exotic info, well you need to sit with me and listen for hours!