(Last Updated on : 10-04-2013)
Uttarakhand, a state in north India, is a treasure trove for tourists. The state of Uttarakhand has a wide array of places of interest. Tourism essays an important role in Uttarakhand's economy. The industry of tourism in Uttarakhand has flourished with the various adventure activities like trekking, rafting, skiing and so on. Thousands of pilgrimage tourists come to Uttarakhand round the year to wander in the abode of Gods and discover Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand tourism is the ideal place for tourists, pilgrims, trekkers and adventurers and has activities in store for any age group. Tourism in Uttarakhand unfolds the heavenly beauty of nature. The glaciers, the snow clad mountains, and valleys of flowers help to boost the popularity of Uttarakhand as a coveted tourist destination.
Pilgrimage Tourism in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is a pilgrim's paradise and an ideal place to visit for the peace lovers. The amalgamation of Himalayan range, the green dale and the sanctimonious weather make the land the dwelling place of Hindu God and Goddesses. There are numerous mythological stories rooted in the land of Uttarakhand. The sacred rivers like Ganga and Yamuna add to the veneration of this place. The major Hindu pilgrimage centers of Uttarakhand are Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Pilgrims from all over the world has been visiting these places to attain salvation and purification. The Kedarnath temple is one of the twelve jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Set on the backdrop of the majestic Kedarnath range, this temple is flocked by thousands of devotees who come here to seek blessings. The Badrinath temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is also a much visited pilgrim destination. The temple attracts an ever growing number of spiritual visitors each year. Gangotri, a municipality in Uttarakhand, is a holy Hindu pilgrim town. It is one of the four sites in the Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. This pleasing pilgrimage in the hinterlands of the Himalayas is the most blessed spot where Ganga, the stream of life, touched earth for the first time. The prime attraction of Yamunotri is the temple dedicated to goddess Yamuna. Special Puja is conducted in the temple on the eve of Diwali and Janmashtami. Haridwar is one of the most revered pilgrimage places in Uttarakhand state of India. The Kumbha Mela in Haridwar is the largest religious fair and devotees are seen taking a sacred dip in the divine waters of the Ganges and observing rites and rituals during this fair. The sacred temples and the holy rivers contribute to the great religious significance of the place.
Nature Tourism in Uttarakhand
Wild life is an integral part of Uttarakhand tourism. The Jim Corbett National park is a major attraction of the nature tourists in Uttarakhand. It is the oldest park in India and one of the renowned wild life sanctuaries of the country. There are over four hundred and eighty eight species of flora and fauna in this National Park. The wild life here includes tiger, nilgai, sambar deer, elephant, flying fox, Indian pangolin, wild boar and hedgehog. It is one of the most protected areas of the country and draws numerous Indian and foreign tourists every year. The Askot sanctuary is another place of tourist interest in Uttarakhand. The area is affluent for its sal, oak and pine forest and abundant waterfalls. The main attraction of Askot sanctuary are snow leopards, Himalayan Black Bears, Snow cocks, Tahrs, Musk Deers, Chirs, Koklas, Pheasants and Chukors. The Bansar sanctuary of Uttarakhand is one of the most scenic spots, with plenty of wild life. The surroundings of the sanctuary abound in alpine ferns, hanging moss, flora and variety of wild flowers. The Govind Wild Life Sanctuary in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand is a popular tourist destination. The wide diversity of animal species that lives here comprises Monals, Snow Leopards, Himalayan Black Bears, and Musk Deer. Glaciers are the most interesting part of Uttarakhand tourism. Tourists from all over the world come here to experience the delight. The glaciers of this state remain covered with snow all throughout the year. Glaciers here are very well-liked with tourist. Some of these mighty glaciers are considered sacred while some are visited just because of there absolute brilliance. Some of the most popular glaciers of Uttarakhand state are Bunder Puunch, Pindari, Milam and Gangotri. However, other glaciers like Ralam, Dokhriani, Khatling, Sunderdhunga, Doonagiri etc. are also fast becoming popular.
Leisure Tourism in Uttarakhand
Hill stations in Uttarakhand are major places of interest for the leisure tourists. The majority part of the state is covered by the Himalayan Mountains and as a result there are plenty hill stations which are ideal for the vacationers. Mussoorie, Auli, Nainital, Almora, and Ranikhet are the most popular hill stations of the Uttarakhand state. Mussoorie is also known as the 'Queen of the Hills' and is located at the foot hills of the Himalaya. The gun hill and the Kempty Fall of Mussoorie are the most visited destinations. The beautiful city of Nainital is noteworthy for its scenic hills and this makes it one of the most coveted hill stations of the country. Auli hill station of Uttarakhand is flanked by oak and coniferous forests, which present a panoramic view of Himalayan Mountains. Ranikhet hill station of the state is well-known for natural exquisiteness, ancient temples, picnic sports, thrilling treks and India's highest golf course. These hill stations provide excellent respite to people who want relief from the hot sultry conditions of the plains. The Valley of Flowers is a part of Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks World Heritage Site. The valley offers attractive setting, flora and fresh water streams. Monuments of Uttarakhand are the most frequented destinations of India that play an important role in the Indian tourism economy. The beautiful colonial structures which are loaded with historical importance help to promote tourism in Uttarakhand. The Deogarh Fort of Uttarakhand, built in the 16th century is a popular structure comprising quite a few palaces, bedecked with frescoes and marvelous Jain temples. The churches and mansions are some of the colonial trajectory of Uttarakhand. Some of the major colonial monuments of Uttarakhand are St. John's Church, Children's Lodge at Mussoorie, and Forest Research Institute of Dehradun.
Adventure Tourism in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is a paradise for the adventure tourists. White Water River Rafting, Auli Skiing Package, Camping, Paragliding and Dayara Bugyal are some of the most enjoyable activities for the tourists visiting Uttarakhand. Auli hill station is well-known for its skiing slopes hosting some of the national and international level skiing championships every year. The slopes provide excellent opportunities for cross-country, slalom and downhill skiing events. The trekking to nearby Gurso Buygal will offer closer view of Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi, Trishul and Drongiri. The trekking path of Ghangharia to Hemkund is a delight for the trekkers. The rivers of Uttarakhand invite both the layperson as well as the die-hard professionals. One can choose for Canoeing, Kayaking or Rafting, depending upon the nature of the water. White water river rafting is a popular sport in Uttarakhand. The sport of White Water River rafting calls for a triumph over the rapid swirling river as it gushes past imposing mountains. Paragliding is a type of aero sport which is among the most trendy adventure sports in the state of Uttarakhand. The unique topography Uttarakhand, with splendid Himalayas in the north and plains of Tarai in the south, promises an cherished experience of paragliding over thickly wooded, luxuriant green deep cut valleys, in the lap of the snow covered Himalayan range.
Visiting information on Uttarakhand
How to reach Uttarakhand
There is excellent road and rail network in the state of Uttarakhand which makes it easily available for tourists from all parts of the country as well as from outside.
: There is only one airport in the state of Uttarakhand which is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. All public and private airlines run regular flights to Dehradun. There is another airport in Pant Nagar, near Nainital, but only limited flights operate from there.
: The excellent rail network in Uttarakhand is indeed praiseworthy. The chief Railway Stations in the state are Dehradun, Haridwar and Kathgodam. Many super-fast express as well as local trains join these locations with cities in other parts of India.
: The wide ranging road network of Uttarakhand makes the state easily accessible for the tourists. The state has an outstanding road connection with Delhi and many other State Highways which provide the connection to tourist destinations and important places like Corbett National Park, Haridwar and Rishikesh. Regular buses, private, deluxe, state or otherwise are obtainable for journey to Uttarakhand.
Shopping in Uttarakhand is a pleasurable experience for the tourists. It is a thrilling experience to find out little shops with beautiful local handicrafts which are a must buy items of Uttarakhand. The delicate wood carvings, hand-made candles, organic items, jewellery, hand-made sweaters are among the popular buys of the state. There are abundant accommodation facilities for the visitors in this state. Hotels and resorts are available as per one's budget. A tour in the state of Uttarakhand is a different experience altogether.