(Last Updated on : 13/04/2013)
Uttarkashi District is one of the administrative districts of Uttarakhand
with its headquarters located at Uttarkashi
. Uttarkashi District sprawls in the extreme north-west corner of the state and is spread over an area of 8016 sq kms in the rugged terrain of the mystic Himalaya Mountains
. On its north it is bounded by Himachal Pradesh
and the territory of Tibet and Chamoli District
in the east.
History of Uttarkashi District
History of Uttarkashi District says that this district was created on 24th of February, 1960. And from this district the Parganas of Rawain and Uttarkashi of Rawain tehsil of erstwhile Tehri Garhwal District was constituted. The district is named after its headquarters town Uttarkashi, an ancient place with rich cultural heritage and as the name suggests is the Kashi of north (Uttara) held almost as high a veneration as Kashi of the plain (Varanasi
). Both Kashi of the plain (Varanasi) as well as the Kashi of north are situated on the banks of Ganga River
. The area which is held sacred and known as Uttarkashi lies between the rivers Syalam Gad also known as the Varuna and Kaligad also known as the Asi. The Varuna and the Asi are also the names of the rivers between which the Kashi of the plain lies.
Geography of Uttarkashi District
The terrain and climate of Uttarkashi District provide uncongenial physical environment for human settlement. This district mainly comprises valleys and hilly terrains. As this district is lying in the upper Himalayan region, it basically contains varying geographic environments. Alluvial soil is mainly found in the stream beds of the district. A huge portion of the total area of Uttarkashi District is under forests that mainly occur on the upper ridges bounding the valleys. Three main rivers are flowing through the district. These are Bhagirathi River
, Yamuna River
and Tons River
besides several tributaries. Flora and fauna of Uttarkashi District are rich and diverse. The peaks of this region are divided into two groups; the Gangotri Group of Mountains
and the Bandarpunch Range. The Gangotri Group may be approached through the Bhagirathi valley. Bandarpunch Range is found in the Yamuna valley. It is bounded by the Tons River at one end. The longest glacier in the Himalayas, the Gangotri Glacier, with a length of 25 kms, starts from the Chaukhamba group of peaks at an elevation of 7,143 metres. It terminates at Gaumukh, at an altitude of some 4,000 metres, with water gushing out from a snout at high speed. Other well-known glaciers are Bhrigupanth, Meru, Raktavarn, Chaturangi and Kirti, all spreading a vast icy sheet on the base of the snow-clad mountains. On the Yamuna valley side, the well-known glaciers are Bandarpunch, Jaundhar, Siar, Rahita, Charan and Bartiakho. Hot springs occur at four places in the district, at Gangnani, Yamunotri, Chaula-Dhungi and Banas.
Culture of Uttarkashi District
Culture of Uttarkashi District is really old and rich. Folk culture of this region is contributed by different forms of folk dances and folk songs. Fairs and festivals are other important components of the culture of Uttarkashi District. Major festivals celebrated in the district are Makar Sankranti
, Nag Panchami, Raksha Bandhan
, and Holi
. 'Pandav Nritya', 'Raso Nritya', Tandi Nritya, Jhumalo Nritya, Paisara Nritya and Doli Nritya are some of the major folk dances of Uttarkashi District. Mangalgeet, Vivahgeet, Poojangeet, Thadyageet, Jhumaila, Basant, Baju Band, Khudergeet, Chafula, Chaitigeet and Baramasigeet are some prominent folk songs sung on different occasions.
Economy of Uttarkashi District
Major portion of Uttarkashi District is covered with forests and thus, forestry and forest products play a great role in supporting the economy of the district. Agriculture and other sectors like animal husbandry, sheep rearing, and several cottage industries form the base of economy of Uttarkashi District. Main cottage industries of the district are Carpets, blankets, basket-making, mat weaving and wood craft. Tourism industry is another important sector of the economy of Uttarkashi District.
Tourism in Uttarkashi District
Uttarkashi district offers a Himalayan panorama of natural delights, perhaps unmatched elsewhere. It is a treasure trove of lush valleys, soaring peaks, crashing waterfalls, balmy hot water springs and other bounties of the nature. There are several places of interest in Uttarkashi District. A view of the peaks and the glaciers is indeed awesome. There are innumerable waterfalls in both Bhagirathi and Yamuna valleys, some seasonal, others the whole year round. In the Bhagirathi area, one of the most prominent is near Limchi Gad, 2 kms from Gangnani. In the Yamuna valley, there is a spectacular, steep waterfall close to Yamunotri, which has a step like descent. Vishwanath Temple, Lakha Mandal Temple, Bhairav Temple, Shakti Mandir, Gangotri Temple, Parasurama Mandir, Mahasu Devta Temple, Duryodhana Mandir and Hanuman Mandir are some of the popular temples of Uttarkashi District. All these are worth visiting. The terrain produces some of the rarest spectacles contrasting between awesome raggedness and amazingly beautiful landscape which are worth exploring.
The location of Uttarkashi District makes it even more popular as a tourist place.