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. Thousands of pilgrims come to Uttarakhand round the year to wander in the abode of Gods and discover the Himalayan hills. 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. These four pilgrimage centers together are known as “Chota Char Dham” which means “'journey to four centres”.
Kedarnath Temple: 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.
Badrinath Temple: The Badrinath temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is also a much visited pilgrimage. The temple attracts an ever growing number of spiritual visitors each year.
Gangotri: Gangotri, a municipality in Uttarakhand, is a holy Hindu pilgrimage 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.
Yamunotri: 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: Haridwar is one of the most revered pilgrimage places in Uttarakhand. 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.
Rishikesh: As a renowned center for pilgrimage tourism, Rishikesh offers a soul-stirring experience through its ancient temples, ashrams, and the sacred Ganges River. Seekers embark on transformative journeys, immersing themselves in yoga, meditation, and spiritual discourses, making Rishikesh an ethereal destination of divine enlightenment.
Panch Prayag holds profound significance as it represents the convergence of five sacred rivers in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, India. The term "prayag" denotes the sacred confluence in Sanskrit. These five river confluences, namely Vishnu Prayag, Nand Prayag, Karn Prayag, Rudra Prayag, and Dev Prayag, follow a descending flow sequence and are revered for their spiritual essence and religious importance.
Vishnu Prayag: Vishnu Prayag, located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, marks the sacred confluence of the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers. It is named after Lord Vishnu, one of the principal deities in Hindu mythology. Pilgrims visit this holy site to seek blessings and immerse themselves in the divine energy.
Nanda Prayag: Situated in the Chamoli district, Nanda Prayag is where the Alaknanda and Nandakini rivers merge. It derives its name from Goddess Nanda, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. This confluence holds immense spiritual significance and attracts devotees seeking spiritual solace and a connection with the divine.
Karna Prayag: Karna Prayag, positioned in the Chamoli district, symbolizes the confluence of the Alaknanda and Pindar rivers. It is named after the legendary warrior Karna from the epic Mahabharata. The site is revered for its religious importance and is visited by pilgrims who seek blessings and wish to partake in sacred rituals.
Rudra Prayag: Located in the Rudraprayag district, Rudra Prayag signifies the meeting point of the Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. It derives its name from Lord Shiva, who is also known as Rudra. The confluence is considered holy, and pilgrims come here to offer prayers and pay homage to Lord Shiva, seeking spiritual enlightenment.
Dev Prayag: Positioned in the Tehri Garhwal district, Dev Prayag is the sacred confluence of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers. It is revered as the starting point of the holy river Ganges. The town of Dev Prayag is steeped in mythological significance and is home to the Raghunathji Temple, attracting devotees who seek blessings and a deep connection with the divine.
Panch Kedar, a group of five sacred Hindu temples, holds great spiritual significance for devotees. Located in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, these temples are devoted to Lord Shiva. The five temples, namely Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar, and Kalpeshwar, attract pilgrims who embark on arduous journeys to seek blessings and attain spiritual enlightenment amidst the pristine Himalayan surroundings.
Nature Tourism in Uttarakhand
Wildlife is an integral part of Uttarakhand tourism. Uttarakhand is a biodiversity hotspot and the Government is also promoting Ecotourism in the state as its mission to convert Uttarakhand into an eco tourism spot.
Jim Corbett National Park: 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 wildlife sanctuaries of the country. There are over 488 species of flora and fauna in this National Park. The wildlife 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.
Askot Sanctuary: 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.
Bansar Sanctuary: The Bansar sanctuary of Uttarakhand is one of the most scenic spots, with plenty of wildlife. The surroundings of the sanctuary abound in alpine ferns, hanging moss, flora and variety of wild flowers.
Govind Wildlife Sanctuary: The Govind Wildlife 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 their 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 of 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: 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.
Nainital: 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: Auli hill station of Uttarakhand is flanked by oak and coniferous forests, which present a panoramic view of Himalayan Mountains.
Ranikhet: Ranikhet hill station of the state is well-known for natural exquisiteness, ancient temples, picnic sports, thrilling treks and India's highest golf course.
Munsiyari: Nestled in the snowy peaks of Pithoragarh district, Munsiyari stands as a distinctive hill village. Located at an altitude of approximately 2,200 meters in the Himalayan mountain range, it offers mesmerizing landscapes and verdant forests. Munsiyari also boasts a rich local cuisine and exquisite handicrafts, adding cultural charm to its natural allure.
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 the Valley of Flowers National Park is a 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.
Tehri Dam: As a popular tourist attraction, Tehri Dam allures visitors with its panoramic vistas of the sprawling reservoir, offering opportunities for water sports, boating, and angling. Nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike are drawn to this remarkable destination, making Tehri Dam an enthralling spot for memorable experiences.
Auli: This 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
Dhanaulti: Nestled amidst the picturesque hills of Uttarakhand, Dhanaulti allures tourists with its abundant natural beauty and thrilling adventure opportunities. Renowned for its trekking trails, camping sites, and ziplining adventures, Dhanaulti beckons adrenaline enthusiasts. With its ecotourism initiatives, like the Surkanda Devi Temple and Dhanaulti Adventure Park, the city presents a perfect blend of nature, spirituality, and adventure for an unforgettable vacation.
Gurso Bugyal: The trekking to nearby Gurso Bugyal 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.
Chakrata: Nestled in the Dehradun district of Uttarakhand, Chakrata emerges as an enchanting hill station and cantonment. Perched at an altitude of approximately 2,118 meters amidst the Himalayan mountain range, this idyllic destination entices adventure seekers with trekking, camping, and outdoor pursuits. Chakrata's star attraction is Tiger Falls that allures many tourists.
Visiting information on 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 Uttarakhand which is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun.
The chief Railway Stations 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 state has an outstanding road connection with Delhi and many other state highways which connect places like Corbett National Park, Haridwar and Rishikesh.