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Tourist Places To Visit In Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is a state of bewitching beauty and snow-capped Himalayan mountains, stunning glaciers, mesmerising lakes, picturesque landscapes, holy rivers and pilgrimage sites. Alluring, intriguing and captivating, Uttarakhand is a traveler's delight. In the words of 19th century anthropologist and surveyor, Charles A. Sherring, “In those lovely valleys there is still the romance and poetry of life...”
And here are the best tourist places to visit in Uttarakhand, the valley of those poems -- from Haridwar to Nainital, Dehradun to Chopta and many more.
Haridwar, meaning Gateway to the Gods is one of the seven holy sites of India. Situated at the base of the Siwalik Hills, Haridwar is also the place from where the holy Ganges begins its 2000km journey across the plains. An extremely popular pilgrimage centre, Haridwar is the home to several temples and bathing-ghats, the holiest of them being Hari-ki-Pairi. Lord Vishnu is believed to have left his foot-prints here. As part of the evening prayer at Hari-ki-Pairi, on the banks of River Ganges, lit up ‘diyas’ are floated. It is one of the most beautiful sights one comes across here.
Yet another popular pilgrimage destination, Rishikesh is located 28km from Haridwar at the foothills of the Himalayas. Thousands of pilgrims flock here every year. Rishikesh is also known as the Yoga Capital of the World. It has several yoga centres attracting thousands of tourists.
Situated in the Kumaon region, Nanital is a popular hill station that has grown around the beautiful Lake Naini. It is popularly referred to as the Lake District of India. It is surrounded by seven hills on three sides, known as ‘Sapta Shring’.Quiet and peaceful, Nanital offers a perfect hideout for the ravaged souls.
A picturesque little hamlet, situated at an altitude of 2,420m, Binsar offers a magical and fascinating view of the Himalayan peaks including Chaukhamba, Trishul, Panchchuli, Shivling and Nanda Devi. It has an impressive forest cover providing a home to rare animals, birds and wild flowers. Binsar also offers wonderful opportunities for trekkers.
The enchanting Himalayas have bequeathed on to Kausani an idyllic beauty which is incomparable. The snow-capped mountains, silent valleys, towering coniferous trees and chirping of birds creates an ambience of peace far from the bricks and mortars of city life.
Situated at an altitude of 1880m in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan ranges Mussoorie, also known as the “Queen of Hills” is another exquisite hill station of Uttarakhand. The enchanting mountains and powerful colonial influences lend Mussoorie a poetic charm.
Ruskin Bond’s beloved town of Dehradun is as beautiful and enchanting as he describes them in his novels. An old world charm combined with the beauty of the natural surroundings, Dehradun is a refreshing retreat.
Situated at an altitude of 3000m on the banks of River Bhagirathi, Gangotri is one of the Char Dhams of Uttarakhand. It is the highest temple of Goddess Ganga. It is the place from where River Ganges originates. There is a natural rock Shivling at Gangotri submerged under water. According to myths, it is the place where Lord Shiva received Ganga in his matted locks. Apart from its religious significance, Gangotri is an enchanting tourist destination. It is the home to India’s second largest glacier, namely Gaumukh Glacier which is said to resemble a cow’s mouth. Trekking to Gaumukh Glacier is a fascinating experience.
Char Dham, when literally translated into English mean the 'four pilgrimages.' These four pilgrim centres all feature on the holy land of Uttarakhand. The Char Dham yatra includes travelling to all four temple shrines, going across high mountains and climbing trails that are best described as seasoned trekkers' trails, until you reach your destination. These 4 places include Yamunotri (the starting point of River Yamuna), Badrinath, Gangotri (the starting point of River Ganga) and Kedarnath. The trek can also be accomplished on palanquins and mules. And in recent years, by directly landing on site via helicopters.
The Char Dham yatra is one of the most coveted pilgrimage for Hindus and most Hindus manage to take at least one circuit in their lifetime.
Corbett National Park
Set amidst the Garhwal and Kumaon districts of Uttarakhand, Jim Corbett National Park is one of the largest tiger reserves in the country. In 1957 the National Park was renamed Jim Corbett National Park to commemorate the contribution of hunter turned conservationist, Jim Corbett. Tourists are treated to some amazing jungle safaris here. In addition to the wildlife reserve, Corbett Park has diverse ranges of flora and fauna. It is a paradise for nature lovers.
Auli is one of the best ski destinations of India although lesser known than Shimla, Manali or Gulmarg. Auli resort is run by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) which employs snow beaters to keep the slopes fit for skiing at all times.
Traveling through Uttarakhand and treated to a beauty that is unparalleled around every bend and at each corner will leave a tourist stranded for words. It is where the language of nature defeats the language of man.
Almora is a beautiful little hill station in the hills of Uttarakhand, encompassed in lush green forests giving way to a settlement of temples and resorts. The gorgeous meadows and streams add to the charm, with temples that tell of a rich culture and history. From the Nanda Devi Temple to Maa Dunaguri and Patal Devi Temple, so many goddesses are worshipped here. The food here is also quite a treat, a mix of North Indian, Continental and local Kumaon Pahari. The local favourites that you must try at least once include ginger tea, singauri and choklate.
Chopta is a part of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, full of rhododendron meadows, pine and deodar forests and trekking trails of Tunganath. Most travellers come here for treks. The routes and trails, depending on their degree of difficulty and landscape, meander through different parts of this village. Some of the important treks in Chopta are Devariyatal, Chandrashila, Tunganath etc. If you aren’t into treks and adventures, Chopta is also known for its beautiful views of the Himalayas, bird watching and camps. You can do either or all of these!
The Snake’s Peak or Nag Tibba is one of the highest in the Lower Himalayan region. The peak is named after the Snake God, who is believed to protect the cattle of the village. That is why villagers come here often to offer their prayers. Add to that the lush green landscape of Uttarakhand coupled with springs and streams, and you are in for a treat! The food here is also very traditional and lip-smacking (especially if you love Punjabi and Pahadi cuisine). Nag Tibba is famous for activities like river crossing, rafting, camping, trekking and body surfing.
It used to be a British cantonment in the colonial days, but now Chakrata is a summer getaway that evolved as a result of that very interest of the British. The mountains are carved with good roads, buildings and resorts made in the populated conifer forests and rhododendron meadows, while amenities provided by the locals. The place is known for its waterfalls like the Tiger Fall. You can also visit Mundali meadows, Lakhamandal, Kalsi, Budher and Deoban.
Abbott Mount is a little mountain nestled in Champawat’s Kali Kumaon area. It is a quaint hamlet that also serves as a base camp for Mahaseer fishing. Due to the colonial influence, Abott Mount gives off a very chic European vibe. There are old victorian bungalows, churches, painstakingly manicured green gardens and paved old world roads. It all makes you transport to a small European town. But beware, this place is so quaint that you won’t find even the basics like a petrol pump or ATM or even a good restaurant around easily. So come prepared.
Another gem of Kumaon Hills, Mukteshwar is a summer haunt through and through. Tourists coming to Nainital mostly spare a couple of days here. With its ancient temples and deodar virgin forests, Mukteshwar is perfect to relax and enjoy the aura of an old civilisation. You can go for nature walks, indulge in meditation, take your camera for a photography session, or jump into adventure sports. And when its winter and it snows, you get all of this with a lot more peace and quiet.
1700 m above sea level, Lansdowne is all thick oak jungles and pine timberlands. The town is quaint and quiet, perfect for travellers who seek some alone-time. Many come here to trek down Lover’s Lane, many to enjoy the little town, its people and markets and cafes. If you are fond of snow-capped beauties like peaks and valleys, or want to make a pit stop before wildlife safari at Jim Corbett, then Lansdowne is for you.
Another tourist favourite, Ranikhet is a very popular little town. With gorgeous views and soothing aura, Ranikhet beckons you into the Himalayas. People come here to relax, enjoy, detoxify as well as to heal. While apple and apricot orchards spread the sweet fragrance of ripe juicy fruit through the town, pine trees grow tall and larger than life for as long as the eye can see. Visit shrines like Haidakhan Temple, Jhula Devi temple, Upat Kalika Temple and Dunagiri Temple. Check out the Chaubatia Gardens and spend an evening at Bhalu Dam
Uttarkashi, or the Kashi of the North, is a very holy city for Hindus all around the world. The heritage of this town is visible in its temples, pilgrimages and natural beauty. Why is this town so important? Because it is the gateway to Gangotri as well as Yamunotri (two of the Char Dham destinations). Pilgrims always make a pitstop here on their trek up, most importantly to pay respects at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Nestled in the lap of alpine hills, snow laden peaks and verdant forests, are some of the holiest Hindu sites — Gaumukh Glacier, Nachiketa Tal and Gangotri Temple. Trekkers and mountain bikers also enjoy this place just as much for its thrilling landscape.