May 13, 2020
Tourist places to visit in Uttarakhand – An overview:
Uttarakhand is a tourist’s paradise nestled in the lap of the mighty Himalayas. It has rightly been called “Devbhumi” or the "Land of Gods." The state of Uttarakhand evokes many emotions and truly; epithets fall short in projecting it in totality. It is mysterious, beautiful, charming, alluring, exotic, magnificent, and blessed, all woven into a singular bouquet.
Even Mahatma Gandhi was so mesmerized by its natural beauty that he termed it as the Switzerland of India. The state of Uttarakhand in North India comprises of thirteen districts distributed broadly in Garhwal and Kumaon regions. Each region is unique in its way, having distinctive cultures, traditions, cuisine, and richly endowed with the number of attractive places to visit in Uttarakhand.
Notwithstanding its geographical location, the tourist places in Uttarakhand display the magnificence of the mighty Himalayas, which are a treat to the eyes and the surrounding forests, music to the ears. Nowhere else in India are one’s senses indulged to such an extent.
One can travel and visit different places to visit in Uttarakhand availing of all three modes of transport – Road, Air, and Railways. While the entire network is in the process of expansion, let us look at the present transport scenario.
Air: Uttarakhand is served by three airports, two in the Kumaon at Pantnagar and Pithoragarh and one in the Garhwal Region in Dehradun, by far the best connected of all.
Railways: Direct trains connect many of the major cities of the country. Stations at Haridwar, Dehradun, Kathgodam, and Tanakpur act as gateways for destinations beyond, leading access to the entire state
Road: By far, the most widely networked roadways lead to the coveted tourist places in Uttarakhand. The best mode of transport is the taxi and bus as the travel option of choice to different destinations.
Uttarakhand is the land of immense natural beauty, offering different lures to different categories of tourists. The towering mountains, the surreal landscape, green vales, shimmering streams, glaciers, and an endless scope for exploration are enough reasons to fall in love with Uttarakhand.
Offering such a wide range of temptations, every season has something to contribute to the tourists on a visit to the state. The best time to visit Uttarkhand is during summer months and winter months, which has its charm. The average temperature in Uttarakhand varies from 170 C to 350 C in summer (April to Mid-June), 150 C to 300 C in Monsoon (Mid-April to September and 120 C to 00 C in winter (October to March).
The state of Uttarakhand thrives on its tourism potential laced with major as well as minor destinations to suit every taste and budget. Making a choice is a hazardous exercise as none of the tourist places in Uttarakhand is similar. Each one offers something different and unique for keepsake. Yet it is worthwhile in homing in on the 5 top tourist places which any Uttarakhand travel guide will promote for the benefit of one and all.
1. Haridwar and Hrishikesh: One of the revered divine sites in India regardless of religious persuasion, it is famed for the footprints of Lord Vishnu on the revered ghat of Hari-ki-Pairi. The evening Ganga Aarti is an ethereal sight with myriad “diyas” (lamps) floating down the river.
A short distance away is Hrishikesh, the destination of ashrams and most excellent adventure sports facilities in the country. White water rafting and kayaking are not to be missed by the adventurous.
How to Reach Haridwar: It is well connected by Indian Railways with different parts of the country. Road travel by buses and cars is abundantly common. Air connectivity is provided by the Airport at Dehradun.
2. Mussoorie: It is popularly known as the “Queen of the Hills” and one of the most attractive places to visit in Uttarakhand. Perched precariously on a high ridge, it offers a panoramic sight of the Doon Valley below and towering Himalayas all around. A stroll in the winding lanes of the town or a visit to the Kemptee Falls makes up for a pleasant stay
How to reach Mussoorie: The easiest way is to reach Dehradun by train and take a taxi to Mussoorie, 36 km away.
3.Auli: It is considered to be the best ski destinations in India, offering exhilarating skiing experience. For others who love serene beauty, Auli could be the answer for a quaint holiday in total bliss. The splendor of Nanda Devi appears sublime from Auli and is sure to leave one speechless by its aura.
How to Reach Auli: The route to Auli is circuitous. From Delhi, one has to reach Joshimath via Hrishikesh, completing an overnight journey. From Joshimath, one has to avail of the cable car to reach Auli.
4.Nainital: The town surrounds pristine Naini Lake, from which the name has been derived. Offering a majestic view of the Himalayas, it is the gateway to several such lakes in the neighborhood. Boating experience in the lake is the height of romanticism so well portrayed in umpteen movies.
How to Reach Nainital: It is only 23 km taxi drive away from Kathgodam, the nearest railhead.
5.Corbett National Park: Named after the famous Jim Corbett, it is a must-visit place in Uttarakhand for wildlife aficionados. Apart from the king of the jungle, Tiger, it is home to more than 500 species of birds and 400 types of trees, making it an ecological paradise.
How to reach Corbett National Park: The nearest railway station on the Delhi route lies at Ramnagar. Alternatively, one can reach Kathgodam and drive down to Ramnagar for arranging a safari to the National Park.
The Land of the Gods or Devbhumi offers a diverse range of activities to tourists to amply satiate one’s wanderlust to the fullest matching individual tastes. Among the most popular things to do in Uttarakhand associated with Uttarakhand tourism is pursuing religious and spiritual indulgence, enjoying the bounty of nature, and for the adventurous, an exciting range of daring sports.
1.Spiritual Pilgrimage: No state in India is gifted with such a range of shrines and sites related to religion and mythology recalling the heritage of our country. Tourists in search of spiritual experience cannot miss on some of the unique places to visit in Uttarakhand:
Panch Badri: The worship of Lord Vishnu in different forms.
Panch Kedar: Madhmaheshwar, Tungnath, Rudranath, Kalpnath, and Kedarnath comprise the Panch Kedar.
Panch Prayag: It comprises the five confluences of Vishnu Prayag, Nanda Prayag, Karn Prayag, Rudra Prayag and Dev Prayag to form river Ganga.
Char Dham: Comprisesthe four pilgrim destinations of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath.
Haridwar: A paradise offering a cornucopia of Indian culture and civilization.
Hrishikesh: Epitome of tranquility in its ashrams and Ayurveda centers.
Jageshwar: The temple town in the Kumaon region.
Adventure: Uttarakhand offers the best options to thrill-seekers who not only absorb the natural beauty on display but also pursue acts that keep the adrenalin flowing. Outdoor adventure sport is abundant is different destinations spread across Uttarakhand.
Skiing: The popular Uttarkhand resort for skiing in Auli is offering the best slopes in the winter months, extending from December to March. Other ski spots in Uttarakhand are Munsiyari, Dayara Budgal, and Mundali.
Rafting: Stretches along the Alakananda, Dhauliganga, and Kali rivers offer the best rapids for an enthralling experience of white water rafting. The season for rafting extends from September to June.
Paragliding: It is a dare-devil sport amply supported by the unique topography of Uttarakhand. The lofty peaks of Himalayas and the plains of Terai offer some of the best paragliding options in the world.
Trekking: Thrilling trek circuits in both Garhwal and Kumaon region and matching Mountaineering and Rock climbing options make the adventurous make a beeline to the state at all times.
Environment and Ecology: Nature has been generous with the state of Uttarakhand with an unparalleled bounty. The state also boasts of an unenviable record in conservation. It is worth recalling the Chipko Movement initiated in the state to save trees.
Lakes: The lakes called "Tal," spread around the popular Nainital to make it a heavenly destination.
Mountains and Glaciers: Snuggled in the laps of pristine Himalayas, Uttarakhand abounds in Mountains, Rivers, and Glaciers.
Rivers: Two of the sacred Indian rivers, Ganga and Yamuna, originate in the state.
Heritage site: The Valley of Flowers is tagged as the UNESCO Heritage site.
Wildlife: The flora and fauna of Uttarakhand are diverse in 12 National Parks and Sanctuaries, making it an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts. The Corbett National Park is a popular destination for nature lovers.
Uttarakhand Tourism is well organized under the aegis of the State Government, which regulates the tourism industry. The staying options in the tourist destinations are many and fall primarily under three categories. Covered under these categories, one can opt for accommodation to suit one’s budget.
The unique feature of Uttrakhand is its cuisine, which belongs to the two schools based on regional influences. The Garhwal and Kumaon regions differ from each other in their culture, festivals, and so also in their cuisine. The local produce of cereals and grains are extensively used in their recipes, churning dishes that pamper the taste buds.
There is hardly anyone who is not familiar with “Dehradun Rice," an essential grain, so to say. Every tourist destination boasts of fine dining experience available in restaurants in Uttrakhand. Though they serve a cosmopolitan fare, it goes without saying that local recipes should be high on one’s priority.
1.Garhwal cuisine: Some of the recipes on offer are highly nutritious and palate friendly. Some worth mentioning are:
Stuffed Gahat Chapathi
2.Kumaon cuisine: It is different from the Grahwal cuisine in use of local cereals and palate:
Madua ki Roti
Not surprisingly, Uttarakhand Tourism delights in welcoming a large number of tourists who are bitten by wanderlust – all in search of their nirvana amid myriad natural oasis - Abode of the Gods, if there was one. The magnetism of tourist places in Uttarakhand offers facets of spirituality, peace, and tranquility in pilgrim centers and shrines, relaxation in its many hill stations, adventure on the snow slopes and white waters, best of wildlife conservation and sheer ecstasy of quality time both for the solo and family traveler.
Such being the abundance of places to visit in Uttarakhand, finding the right blend of destinations to include in the bucket list, is a tedious task. One is spoilt for choice on satiating the travel bug in Uttarakhand as picturesque places abound. It becomes imperative to have a glimpse of the attractions Uttarakhand has to offer and why it remains one of the popular tourist destinations in the country patronized by visitors of all ages and tastes thronging the many tourist places in Uttarakhand.
Some of the popular destinations in the state are Haridwar, Hrishikesh, Missouri, Dehradun, Auli, Nainital, Jim Corbett National Park, Ranikhet, Almora, Kausani, Munsiyari, The list is not exhaustive, as the tougher destinations covering the temples of Kedarnath and Badrinath, as also the treks to the various glaciers, have been excluded.
Uttarakhand beckons tourists of varied interests, which offer a range of attractive places to visit in Uttarakhand for a refreshing holiday. Keeping a few points in mind shall be of immense help in making the trip an experience to cherish.
*Plan the itinerary separately for Garhwal and Kumaon regions divided over two trips.
*The people of Uttarakhand are genial and helpful.
*In remote places, the language may be a problem as a local dialect of Garhwali and Pahari is commonly spoken.
*Wear decent clothing while visiting pilgrimage shrines.
*Outward show of affection is frowned upon.
*Every tourist destination has ample means of local transport.
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