Uttarakhand is a state in North Indian region of Himalayas. The state is popular as Devbhumi (land of Gods) for the presence of numerous Hindu pilgrimage sites in the state. As a result religious forms a major portion of the tourists in the state.
Rishikesh has been a magnet for spiritual seekers since late 60's when The Beatles rocked up Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram. Known as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’ because of the large number of ashrams teaching meditation and yoga. The northern part of the main town is the hotspot for all the action where the Ganges forested hills form a conducive environment for all the meditation. The evening aarti also draws a lot of crowd
Established by the British in 1823, the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’ spends much of the year swathed in clouds. Mussoorie became hugely popular during the British Raj and its effects can be seen till today in the architecture of its churches, libraries, hotels and summer place
Located the point where the Ganges emerges from the Himalayas, Haridwar is an important city in the religious architectures of the country. The large number of people gathering on the bathing ghats on the holy ganges river give the place a chaotic feel. There are a number of Hindu temples, ashrams and dharamshalas (pilgrims’ rest houses) in the city. The city also serves as the entry point to the nearby Rajaji National Park
Nainital is a famous hill station in northern India, it is situated on the banks of the Naini Lake. Nicknamed the Lake District, Nainital is a town whose life takes place on the Naini lake. Nainital is also the city that hosts the only zoological garden in the state of Uttarakhand.
Fairs and festivals
Kumbh mela (fair) is a major tourist attraction to the state. Haridwar is one of the four places in India where this takes place. Haridwar also has its big annual fair in the form of Magh mela in January–February which turns into a bigger event every 6 years in the form of Ardh Magh Mela. Nanda Devi Mela and Nanda Devi Raj Yatra are great festivals of Uttarakhand, famous in all nothern India. Nanda Devi Mela and Raj Yatra are the festivals of the goddess Nanda Devi, the bless-giving goddess. Kumaoni Holi a region variant of the Hindu festival of Holi is also very well known.
Uttarakhand is home to the first national park in India. There are 12 National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries covering 13.8 percent of the total area of the state. Nanda Devi Biosphere reserve and Valley of Flowers National Park are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
There are plenty of hotels and resorts in Uttarakhand that indulge travelers with their food, outdoor activities, site seeing and other facilities.
Emerald Trail is colonial styled wooden cottage which gives perfect zest of rural or village tourism. It is one of the pet friendly and eco-friendly homestay in Uttarakhand. It indulgestravelers with their favourite past time as reading books, mountain biking or cycling, paragliding, etc.
Uttarakhand has many tourist spots due to its location in the Himalayas. There are many ancient temples, forest reserves, national parks, hill stations, and mountain peaks that draw large number of tourists. There are 44 nationally protected monuments in the state. Oak Grove School in the state is on the tentative list for World Heritage Sites. Two of the most holy rivers in Hinduism the Ganga andYamuna, originate in Uttarakhand.
View of a bugyal (meadow) in Uttarakhand.
Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib, an important pilgrimage site for Sikhs.
Uttarakhand has long been called "Land of the gods" as the state has some of the holiest Hindu shrines, and for more than a thousand years, pilgrims have been visiting the region in the hopes of salvation and purification from sin. Gangotri and Yamunotri, the sources of the Ganga and Yamuna, respectively, fall in the upper reaches of the state and together with Badrinath (dedicated to Vishnu) and Kedarnath(dedicated to Shiva) form the Chota Char Dham, one of Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious pilgrimage circuits. Haridwar, meaning "Gateway to God", is a prime Hindu destination. Haridwar hosts the Kumbha Mela every twelve years, in which millions of pilgrims take part from all parts of India and the world. Rishikesh near Haridwar is known as the preeminent yoga centre of India. The state has an abundance of temples and shrines, many dedicated to local deities or manifestations of Shiva and Durga, references to many of which can be found in Hindu scriptures and legends.Uttarakhand is, however, a place of pilgrimage not only for the Hindus. Hemkund, nested in the Himalayas, is a prime pilgrimage center for the Sikhs. Tibetan Buddhism has also made itself felt with the reconstruction of Mindrolling Monastery and its Buddha Stupa, described as the world's highest, southwest of Dehradun.
Some of the most famous hill stations in India are in Uttarakhand. Mussoorie, Nainital, Dhanaulti, Lansdowne, Sattal, Almora, Kausani,Bhimtal, and Ranikhet are some of the popular hill stations in India.] The state has 12 National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries which cover 13.8 percent of the total area of the state. They are located at different altitudes varying from 800 to 5400 meters. The oldest national park on the Indian sub-continent, Jim Corbett National Park, is a major tourist attraction. The park is famous for its varied wildlife and Project Tiger run by the Government of India. In addition the state boasts Valley of Flowers National Park and Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli District, which together are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vasudhara Falls, near Badrinath is a waterfall with a height of 122 metres (400 ft) set in a backdrop of snow-clad mountains. The state has always been a destination formountaineering, hiking, and rock climbing in India. A recent development in adventure tourism in the region has been whitewaterrafting in Rishikesh. Due to its proximity to the Himalaya ranges, the place is full of hills and mountains and is suitable for trekking, climbing, skiing, camping, rock climbing, and paragliding.Roopkund is a popular trekking site, famous for the mysterious skeletons found in a lake, which was covered by National Geographic Channel in a documentary. The trek to Roopkund passes through the beautiful meadows of Bugyal.