Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Pithoragarh districts of Uttarakhand share International boundary in the NW with China. In the east, the districts of Pithoragarh, Champawat and Udham Singh Nagar also share International boundary with Nepal. Uttarkashi and Dehradun share inter-state boundaries with Himachal Pradesh in the north-west, while Dehradun, Haridwar, part of Nainital and Udham Singh Nagar touches the boundary of Uttar Pradesh in the south.
The Garhwal Himalayas along with Kumaon and a part of Himachal Pradesh has unique characteristics as it has Tibet in the north, Upper Gangetic Plain in the south and Eastern Himalayan provinces in the east. Physiographically, Uttarakhand represents a cross-section of the Himalaya on the basis of its evolutionary history, namely the Trans-Himalaya, Greater Himalaya or Himadri, Lesser Himalaya, Shiwalik Ranges, foothills & Terai and the Plains of Dehradun, Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar.
Archaeological evidence supports the existence of humans in the region since prehistoric times. The region formed a part of the Kuru and the Panchal kingdoms (mahajanpads) during the Vedic age of Ancient India. Among the first major dynasties of Kumaon were the Kunindas in the 2nd century BCE who practised an early form of Shaivism. Ashokan edicts at Kalsi show the early presence of Buddhism in this region. During the medieval period, the region was consolidated under the Kumaon Kingdom and Garhwal Kingdom. In 1816, most of modern Uttarakhand was ceded to the British as part of the Treaty of Sugauli. Although the erstwhile hill kingdoms of Garhwal and Kumaon were traditional rivals, the proximity of different neighboring ethnic groups and the inseparable and complementary nature of their geography, economy, culture, language, and traditions created strong bonds between the two regions which further strengthened during the Uttarakhand movement for statehood in the 1990s.
- HISTORY OF Uttarkhand
- Flora and fauna
Ancient rock paintings, rock shelters, paleolithic stone tools (hundreds of thousands of years old), and megaliths provide evidence that the mountains of the region have been inhabited since prehistoric times. There are also archaeological remains which show the existence of early Vedic (c. 1500 BCE) practices in the area. The Pauravas, Kushanas, Kunindas, Guptas, Gurjara-Pratihara, Katyuris, Raikas, Palas, Chands, Parmars or Panwars, and the British have ruled Uttarakhand in turns.The region was originally settled by Kol people, an aboriginal people of the Austro-Asiatic physical type who were later joined by the Indo-Aryan Khasas tribe that arrived from the northwest by the Vedic period (1700–1100 BCE). At that time, present-day Uttarakhand also served as a habitat for Rishis and Sadhus. It is believed that the sage Vyasa scripted the Hindu epic Mahabharata in the state. Among the first major dynasties of Garhwal and Kumaon were the Kunindas in the 2nd century BCE who practised an early form of Shaivism and traded salt with Western Tibet. It is evident from the Ashokan edict at Kalsi in Western Garhwal that Buddhism made inroads in this region. Folk shamanic practices deviating from Hindu orthodoxy also persisted here. However, Garhwal and Kumaon were restored to nominal Hindu rule due to the travails of Shankaracharya and the arrival of migrants from the plains. Between the 4th and 14th centuries, the Katyuri dynasty dominated lands of varying extent from the Katyur (modern day Baijnath) valley in Kumaon. The historically significant temples at Jageshwar are believed to have been built by the Katyuris and later remodelled by the Chands. Other peoples of the Tibeto-Burman group known as Kirata are thought to have settled in the northern highlands as well as in pockets throughout the region, and are believed to be ancestors of the modern day Bhotiya, Raji, Buksa, and Tharu people.
The Uttarakhand state is the second fastest growing state in India. It's gross state domestic product (GSDP) (at constant prices) more than doubled from ₹24,786 crore in FY2005 to ₹60,898 crore in FY2012. The real GSDP grew at 13.7% (CAGR) during the FY2005–FY2012 period. The contribution of the service sector to the GSDP of Uttarakhand was just over 50% during FY 2012. Per capita income in Uttarakhand is ₹1,03,000 (FY 2013) which is higher than the national average of ₹74,920 (FY2013). According to the Reserve Bank of India, the total foreign direct investment in the state from April 2000 to October 2009 amounted to US$46.7 million.
Like most of India, agriculture is one of the most significant sectors of the economy of Uttarakhand. Basmati rice, wheat, soybeans, groundnuts, coarse cereals, pulses, and oil seeds are the most widely grown crops. Fruits like apples, oranges, pears, peaches, litchis, and plums are widely grown and important to the large food processing industry. Agricultural export zones have been set up in the state for leechi, horticulture, herbs, medicinal plants, and basmati rice. During 2010, wheat production was 831 thousand tonnes and rice production was 610 thousand tonnes, while the main cash crop of the state, sugarcane, had a production of 5058 thousand tonnes. As 86% of the state consists of hills, the yield per hectare is not very high. 86% of all croplands are in the plains while the remaining is from the hills.
Uttarakhand has a great diversity of flora and fauna. It has a recorded forest area of 34,666 km2 which constitutes 65% of the total area of the state. Uttarakhand is home to rare species of plants and animals, many of which are protected by sanctuaries and reserves. National parks in Uttarakhand include the Jim Corbett National Park (the oldest national park of India) at Ramnagar in Nainital District, and Valley of Flowers National Park and Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli District, which together are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A number of plant species in the valley are internationally threatened, including several that have not been recorded from elsewhere in Uttarakhand. Rajaji National Park in Haridwar District and Govind Pashu Vihar National Park and Sanctuary and Gangotri National Park in Uttarkashi District are some other protected areas in the state.
Leopards are found in areas which are abundant in hills but may also venture into the lowland jungles. Smaller felines include the jungle cat, fishing cat, and leopard cat. Other mammals include four kinds of deer (barking, sambar, hog and chital), sloth and Himalayan black bears, Indian gray mongooses, otters, yellow-throated martens, bharal, Indian pangolins, and langur and rhesus monkeys. In the summer, elephants can be seen in herds of several hundred. Marsh crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris), gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) and other reptiles are also found in the region.
Uttarakhand has many tourist spots due to its location in the Himalayas. There are many ancient temples, forest reserves, national parks, hill stations, and mountain peaks that draw large number of tourists. There are 44 nationally protected monuments in the state. Oak Grove School in the state is on the tentative list for World Heritage Sites. Two of the most holy rivers in Hinduism the Ganges and Yamuna, originate in Uttarakhand.
View of a Bugyal (meadow) in Uttarakhand a pilgrimage site for Sikhs Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib, an important pilgrimage site for Sikhs Uttarakhand has long been called "Land of the Gods" as the state has some of the holiest Hindu shrines, and for more than a thousand years, pilgrims have been visiting the region in the hopes of salvation and purification from sin. Gangotri and Yamunotri, the sources of the Ganges and Yamuna, dedicated to Ganga and Yamuna respectively, fall in the upper reaches of the state and together with Badrinath (dedicated to Vishnu) and Kedarnath (dedicated to Shiva) form the Chota Char Dham, one of Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious pilgrimage circuits. Haridwar, meaning "Gateway to the God", is a prime Hindu destination. Haridwar hosts the Kumbha Mela every twelve years, in which millions of pilgrims take part from all parts of India and the world. Rishikesh near Haridwar is known as the preeminent yoga centre of India. The state has an abundance of temples and shrines, many dedicated to local deities or manifestations of Shiva and Durga, references to many of which can be found in Hindu scriptures and legends. Uttarakhand is, however, a place of pilgrimage not only for Hindus. Piran Kaliyar Sharif near Roorkee is a pilgrimage site to Muslims, Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib, Gurdwara Nanakmatta Sahib and Reetha Sahib are pilgrimage centers for Sikhs. Tibetan Buddhism has also made its presence with the reconstruction of Mindrolling Monastery and its Buddha Stupa, described as the world's highest at Clement Town, Dehradun.
Uttarakhand has 28,508 km of roads, of which 1,328 km are national highways and 1,543 km are state highways. The State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC), which has been reorganised in Uttarakhand as the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation, is a major constituent of the transport system in the state. The Corporation began to work on 31 October 2003 and provides services on interstate and nationalised routes. As of 2012, approximately 1000 buses are being plied by the "Uttarakhand Transport Corporation" on 35 nationalised routes along with many other non-nationalised routes.
There are also private transport operators operating approximately 3000 buses on non-nationalised routes along with a few interstate routes in Uttarakhand and the neighbouring state of U.P. For travelling locally, the state, like most of the country, has auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws. In addition, remote towns and villages in the hills are connected to important road junctions and bus routes by a vast network of crowded share jeeps.
Dehradun railway station is a railhead of the Northern Railways. Haridwar station is situated on the Delhi–Dehradun and Howrah–Dehradun railway lines. One of the main railheads of the Northern Railways, Haridwar Junction Railway Station is connected by broad gauge line. Roorkee comes under Northern Railway region of Indian Railways on the main Punjab – Mughal Sarai trunk route and is connected to major Indian cities. Other railheads are Rishikesh, Kotdwar and Ramnagar linked to Delhi by daily trains.
Uttarakhand Places of Interest
Dehradun or Dehra Dun is the capital city of Uttarakhand, a state in the northern part of India. Located in the Garhwal region, it lies 236 kilometres (147 mi) north of India's capital New Delhi and is one of the "Counter Magnets" of the National Capital Region (NCR) being developed as an alternative centre of growth to help ease the migration and population explosion in the Delhi metropolitan area and creation highways to establish a smart city at Dehradun.
Dehradun is in the Doon Valley on the foothills of the Himalayas nestled between the river Ganges on the east and the river Yamuna on the west. Dehradun is also being called as city of love according to a new trend because of its young new generation.The city is famous for its picturesque landscape and slightly milder climate and provides a gateway to the surrounding region. It is well connected and in proximity to Himalayan tourist destinations such as Mussoorie, and Auli and the Hindu holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh along with the Himalayan pilgrimage circuit of Chota Char Dham.
Nainital About this sound pronunciation is a popular hill station in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and headquarters of Nainital district in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas. Situated at an altitude of 2,084 metres (6,837 ft) above sea level, Nainital is set in a valley containing a pear-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains, of which the highest are Naina (2,615 m (8,579 ft)) on the north, Deopatha (2,438 m (7,999 ft)) on the west, and Ayarpatha (2,278 m (7,474 ft)) on the south. From the tops of the higher peaks, "magnificent views can be obtained of the vast plain to the south, or of the mass of tangled ridges lying north, bounded by the great snowy range which forms the central axis of the Himalayas.
Mussoorie is a hill station and a municipal board in the Dehradun District of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is about 35 km from the state capital of Dehradun and 290 km north of the national capital of New Delhi. This hill station is in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan range. The adjoining town of Landour, which includes a military cantonment, is considered part of 'greater Mussoorie', as are the townships of Barlowganj and Jharipani. The pin code for Mussoorie is 248179.
Being at an average altitude of 1,880 metres (6,170 ft), Mussoorie, with its green hills and varied flora and fauna, is a fascinating hill Commanding snow ranges to the northeast and glittering views of the Doon Valley and Shiwalik ranges in the south, the town was once said to present a 'fairyland' atmosphere to tourists. The second highest point is the original Lal Tibba in Landour, with a height of over 2,275 metres (7,464 ft).
Rishikesh is a small serene town famous for meditation and yoga. It is Gateway to the Himalayas and being on the bank of river Ganges it is an ideal destination for adventure activities like rafting, trekking, rock climbing, kayaking etc.
Rishikesh is situated 25 kms ahead of Haridwar at an elevation of 356 meters above sea level and consists of three distinct areas known as Rishikesh.
The town of Rishikesh is such strategically located at the Himalayan foothills that it has easy access by road to the entire Himalayan region in India, and is famous to be the ideal starting-point for your exploring expedition in the Himalayan region.
Situated on the banks of River Ganges, the city of Haridwar (also known as Gateway to God) is world-famous as pilgrimage land. This place is not only about faith but also an indicative of fabulous Indian history, cultural values and rich civilization. In ancient times, this city has been saying Mayapuri, Kapilsthan, Gangadwar. The River Ganga touches plain surface for the first time in Haridwar outing from hilly terrain. According to a mythological legend, Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to Saint Kapila’s curse. Bhagirath was blessed and the holy river descended on the earth and its water revived the sons of King Sagara. Following the tradition of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here and pray for the salvation of their ancestors.
Kedarnath Mandir (Kedarnath Temple) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is on the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini river in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand in India. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshaya Tritriya) to Kartik Purnima (the autumn full moon, usually November). During the winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Kedarnath, the 'Lord of Kedar Khand', the historical name of the region.
The unstable temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by a 18 kilometres (11 mi) uphill trek from Gaurikund. Pony and manchan service is available to reach the structure. The temple was built by Pandavas and revived by Adi Sankaracharya and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest Hindu shrines of Shiva. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, expounded in Tevaram. Pandavas were supposed to have pleased Shiva by doing penance in Kedarnath.
Badrinath is a holy town and a nagar panchayat in Chamoli district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is the most important of the four sites in India's Char Dham pilgrimage and gets its name from the temple of Badrinath.
Badrinath was reëstablished as a major pilgrimage site by Adi Shankara in the 7th century. In earlier days, pilgrims used to walk hundreds of miles to visit Badrinath temple.
The temple has been repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes and avalanches. As late as the First World War, the town consisted only of the 20-odd huts used by the temple's staff, but the site drew thousands each year and up to 50,000 on its duodecennial festivals. In recent years its popularity has increased still more, with an estimated 600,000 pilgrims visiting during the 2006 season, compared to 90,676 in 1961. The temple in Badrinath is also a sacred pilgrimage site for Vaishnavites. Badrinath is also gateway to several mountaineering expeditions headed to mountains like Nilkantha.
Ranikhet is a hill station and cantonment town in Almora district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is the home for the Military Hospital, Kumaon Regiment (KRC) and Naga Regiment and is maintained by the Indian Army.
Ranikhet is at an altitude of 1,869 metres (6,132 ft) above sea level and within sight of the western peaks of the Himalayas.
“Queen of Meadows” – Ranikhet is adorned with plethora of natural wonders, steeped in history, ancient temples, lush greeneries, quaint villages, rich bio-diversity, Snow peaks of Himalayas, deep down valleys. Ranikhet was proposed as new district by the then Chief Minister of the State Mr. Ramesh Pokhariyal. Various outdoor activities like trekking, golfing add delight on visitors face. This exotic surface offers you opportunity to get lost in the charm of nature away from hustle and bustle of the city. Ranikhet has all in it for all kind of tourists.
Almora district is a district in the Kumaon division of Uttarakhand state, India. The headquarters is at Almora. It is 1,638 meters above sea level. The town of Almora is surrounded by Pithoragarh district to the east, Garhwal region to the west, Bageshwar district to the north and Nainital district to the south.
The hill station of Almora is situated on a horseshoe-shaped ridge of a mountain, the eastern portion of which is called Talifat and the western one is known as Selifat.
Situated in Kumaon hilly terrain of the Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand, Almora is famous for its unforgettable natural beauty, hand-crafts, bio-diversity, delectable cuisine and historically rich monuments. Insiders say that this picturesque place boasts the proud of being workplace of many of the ascetics that is like legend Swani Vivekanand and the great poet Sumitranandan Pant.