The mesmerizing beauty of Uttarakhand has blinded all its visitors. Uttarakhand is situated in the lap of Himalaya in the northern India and was formerly known as Uttaranchal. The existence of multiple Hindu pilgrimage centers and temples has rendered this place the title of Devbhumi, which means the ‘The Land of Gods’. The state is known for is picturesque scenic beauty and simple lifestyle of its people. Dehradun is the capital of Uttarakhand and is one of the most connected cities in the state to all parts of the country.
History of Uttarakhand – The Formation
The history of Uttarakhand dates back to the ancient Vedic age of India, the land of the divine has been under the rule of the Pauravas, the Kunindas, the Kushanas, the Guptas and other prominent rulers of ancient India. It was also under the rule of the tyrant British for a very long time. The state derives its name from Sanskrit, ‘Uttara’ means north while ‘Khanda’ means land.
It is believed that the Uttarakhand civilization was originally established by aboriginal people, who were of the Austro-Asiatic origin. Those people were known as the Kol people and are believed to be the pioneer of Uttarakhand history. Uttarakhand – The Devbhoomi has also served as an abode for the Rishis and Sasdhus for a long time. Uttarakhand became the 27th state of India when it was separated from the state of Uttar Pradesh in November 2000.
Geography of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is situated in the northern regions of India and has the second largest mountain in India, the Nanda Devi, which is situated at an elevation of 7816m above the mean sea level. Uttarakhand is spread across an area of 53,483 Square Kilometers. Almost 86% of the state is mountainous while a luxurious 65% is covered by green forest. Uttarakhand lies with the Tibet in the north, the Mahakali Zone on the far western side, the Nepal on its East and the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh to its south.
Climatic Conditions of Uttarakhand
The climate of Uttarakhand is normally pleasant. The summers are exceptionally hot in some regions while the winters are chilly. Snowfall is a common occurrence in most parts of the state. The nearness to the Himalayas plays a dominant role in the climate of Uttarakhand. The nights are little cooler as compared to some other parts of the country.
Biodiversity of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is rich and diverse in flora and fauna. Around 65% of the total region of the state is recorded as forest area. The state is home to various rare species of both plants and animals, many of which are now protected by the reserves and sanctuaries. A number of extremely rare plant species, most of which have not been sighted in other places are found in the valley of Uttarakhand.
Leopards, Jungle Cats, Leopard Cats, Fishing Cats, Sloth, Himalayan Black Bears, Indian Grey Mongoose, Otters, Bharal, Rhesus Monkeys, Yellow Throated Mertens and different species of Deer are spotted in the forest regions. Herds of Elephants, Marsh Crocodiles, several Terrapins and Turtles, rare butterflies, and rare migratory birds’ species make the regions of Uttarakhand as their home. Trees like Evergreen Oaks, Conifers and Rhododendrons are found in abundance in the hilly regions of the state.
The diverse ethnicities of the state have lent their color to create a rich impact on the culture and traditions of the region. Music is an important part of the Uttarakhand culture. It is utilized as a mode to invoke spiritualism and God. The popular folk songs of the region are played on a number of instruments like Dhol, Turri, Ransingha, Thali, Damau, Mandan, Dholki etc. ‘Bedu Pako’ is one of the famous folk Garhwali songs, which has a legendary status associated with its name. It is given the status of the unofficial song of the state.
Human existence and myriad emotions are celebrated through the dances of the region. Some of the popular Pahari dance forms of this state include Hurka Baul, Jhumaila, Chauphula, Barada Nati, and Langvir Nritya. The Uttarakhand rituals exhibit the simplicity of the people and their art and craft forms are an exemplary example of their love for nature. The Uttarakhand traditions are both simple and exquisite at the same time.
Interesting Facts About Uttarakhand
The following are some interesting facts about Uttarakhand:
- The State of Uttarakhand is divided into Garhwal division and Kumaon division.
- The state is divided into thirteen districts.
- The High Court of Uttarakhand is in Nainital.
- Uttarakhand is the only state where Sanskrit is one among the official languages.
- Garhwali, Kumaoni, and Hindi are widely spoken in the state.
- Uttarakhand is the point of origin of two rivers, namely – the Ganga and the Yamuna.
- The oldest National Park called the Jim Corbett National Park is located in Uttarakhand.
- Pant Nagar airport and Jolly Grant airport are the domestic airports of Uttarakhand.
- The state enjoys a literacy ratio of 79.63%.
- The alpine musk deer is the state animal of Uttarakhand.
- The Himalayan Monal is the state bird of Uttarakhand.
Tourism in Uttarakhand: Best Tourist Attractions
The breathtaking beauty of the mountain and terrains make it a favorite holiday destination among tourists. Tourism in Uttarakhand has developed a lot with time. Every season, numerous visitors visit this paradise to attain some peace of mind. The ideal months to visit Uttarakhand are from April to June and October from December. Almora, Auli, Binsar, Badrinath, Chakrata, Corbett, Chamoli, Gangotri, Haridwar, Kedarnath, Kalsi, Lansdowne, Mussoorie, Mukteshwar, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Pauri, Ranikhet, Rajaji National Park, Rishikesh, and Yamunotri are some among the most popular Uttarakhand tourist places.
Religious Places in Uttarakhand: The state has a variety of tourist attraction spots that include ancient temples and shrines, national parks, forest reserves, hill stations and heritage sites. The holy banks of river Ganga and the Yamuna, pilgrimage sites of Kedarnath, Badrinath, and Chhota Char Dham attract thousands of Hindu devotees every year. The world renowned Kumbha Mela, is hosted at Haridwar in every twelve years.
Hill Stations in Uttarakhand: The popular hill stations in Uttarakhand include Nainital, Mussoorie, Lansdowne, Pauri, Bhimtal, Almora, Sattal, Ranikhet, Dhanaulti, and few more. The Nanda Devi is the highest peak among the other lists of mountains in Uttarakhand. There are 12 national parks & wildlife sanctuaries in the state, which spreads across 13.8% of the area. The fairs of Nanda Devi, Jauljibi and Uttaryani fair draws hundreds and thousands of people to this region are highlights of Uttarakhand tourism.
Adventurous Spots in Uttarakhand: The rivers and high mountains of the state of Uttarakhand draw the attention of many tourists, who enjoy the thrills of nature. The adventure seekers are mostly interested in mountaineering, camping, skiing, rock climbing, parasailing, trekking, kayaking, hiking and yachting. As a popular destination for adventure sports, it offers exciting experience of skydiving, paragliding, bungee jumping, and river rafting. Roopkund in Uttarakhand is most famous for other Uttarakhand trekking places, while Rishikesh is known for the offering an unforgettable experience of whitewater rafting.
National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries: A total of forty four (44) nationally protected monuments are located in Uttarakhand. The state boasts of 12 National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries, which are spread across 13.8% of the state’s area. Jim Corbett national park is oldest national park on the whole of Indian sub-continent and it is an extremely popular tourist spot. The Rajaji National Park is famous for its majestic elephants. The valley of flowers national park and the Nanda Devi national park form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Vasudhara waterfall has a height of 122 meters and is set with a backdrop of the snow-clad mountains of the Badrinath.
People of Uttarakhand
The citizens of Uttarakhand are commonly known as Uttarakhandi or to be more specific either Kumaoni or Garhwali as per their origin. The ethnicity of the state comprises of followers of various religions. Hinduism is the most followed religion in Uttarakhand followed by Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Christianity. Uttarakhand is the 19th most populated state in India. Hindi, Garhwali, and Kumaoni are among the languages that are mostly spoken by the people in Uttarakhand.
The most striking feature of Uttarakhand recipes is that most preparations make sparing use of milk and milk based products and tomatoes. Dishes like Chains, Dubuk, Kap, Sei, Chutkani and Gulgula top the popular charts of the Uttarakhand food. Bal Mithai is a fudge-like sweet that tops the dessert list in Uttarakhand.
Like all other states of India, Uttarakhand celebrates all the important festivals that add life to this beautiful tourist destination. Basant Panchmi, Harela and Bhaitauli, Makar Sankranti, Bat Savitri, Khatarua, Phool Dei, Holi, and Olgia are among the major Uttarakhand celebrations in Devbhoomi. Other important festivals like Diwali, Dussehra, Id and Christmas are among the most celebrated festivals in Uttarakhand.
Clothing Trends in Uttarakhand
The latest fashion trends in Uttarakhand are a result of modernization and globalization where young men and women have widened their horizon of fashion by adopting and blending foreign trends with native traditions. A blend of indo-western style is noticeable in the choice of attire and fashion accessories in both men and women. Young women prefer wearing Salwar Kameez, Saree, and Jeans-Top. Men mostly wear European style pant and shirts. The climatic condition of the region also affects the choice of clothing of the people.
In India, Uttarakhand is turning out as the second fastest growing state, owing to its rapid rate of development. Tourism, Agro and Food Processing, Hydro Power, Floriculture and Horticulture, Biotechnology, Herbs, and Spices are among the major industries of the state. Higher education, information technology, and banking are also thriving in the state. By 2006, around 20 industrial sectors were developed in Uttarakhand under the partnership of public and private sectors. There is a noticeable growth in the rate of literacy rand a multicultural effect is evident in form of latest fashion trends in Uttarakhand.
Districts of Uttarakhand
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