A Quick Uttarakhand Travel Guide (2020)
Uttarakhand, Also known as Devbhumi – The Lands of the Gods. Uttarakhand is home to pilgrimage sites which are counted as major sites with snow-covered peaks, rich wildlife, exquisite culture, and beautiful views enough to take your breath away.
Well, Uttarakhand is a state located in the Northern part of the country, formally called Uttaranchal. The state lies on the Himalayas southern slope, with 65% and more total states in the forest area.
However, the southern part has mountains with snow-covered peaks and icy glaciers. Uttarakhand is divided into the Garhwal and Kumaon regions. They share their boundaries with Nepal and Tibet.
Cultural Significance of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand hosts numerous pilgrimage sites that attract devotees from all around the world. Char Dham is one of the important shrines that lies in this state including Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.
Kumbh Mela, another major Hindu Festival is hosted in four different locations in countries for 12 years. It includes Haridwar and Uttarakhand as well. Vasant Panchami and Kumaoni Holi are also counted as an important festival here. Holi festival lasts for two months which also have Baithki Holi, Khari Holi, and Mahila Holi.
Uttarakhand originated from Sanskirt which means Northern land. According to Sage Vyas, Uttarakhand is also mentioned in The Hindu Epic Mahabharata. Over the centuries, the state was ruled by different dynasties including The Guptas, Kushanas, Kututryi, and Chand Rajas. Also, the popular Chipko Movement was started in Uttarakhand.
People, Culture and Food of the Uttarakhand
People from Uttarakhand are known as Uttarakhandis. Well, it also depends on the region they belong to, like Garhwal are Garhwalis and Kumaoan are Kumaonis. Pahari is another term that is usually referred to as the people who are from the regions situated in the mountains.
The official language is Hindi, but you can also find languages like Kumaoni, Jaunsari, and Garhwali. These are Pahari languages, largely used by the locals. The majority of the people here follow Hinduism culture.
As for the cuisine, the locals focus on simple food with lots of nutrients. They have Kafuli, it’s a thick gravy made with spinach and Fenugreek leaves. Kafuli is for winters to restore the warmth in the body while the locals do their work in a bone breezing environment.
With that, they have Phannu, prepared using lentils including Green mung and Arhar. Baadi is a famous local food that complements well with Phannu. For sweets, they have Bal Mithai. It’s a chocolate-colored fudge in small cubes coated with sugar balls.
Hill Stations in Uttarakhand:
- Abbott Mount
Most Popular Places To Visit In Uttarakhand
Jim Corbett National Park: Jim Corbett National Park is India’s one of the most famous national park, named after Jim Corbett. He was a hunter turned conservationist. The place is best for animal sightings, elephant safaris, and dense forest. Here, the Dhikala zone is ideal for a panoramic view as it offers beautiful valley views.
Char Dham: According to Hindus, Char Dham is an auspicious pilgrimage site that includes four temples and four holy rivers. Such as Yamuna, Ganga, Mandakini, and Alaknanda. There is a belief that it can wash away the sins and also release one from the cycle of birth and death.
Kalap: Kalap is not usually found in the Tourist map. It’s a tiny remote village, and it can be only accessible from the upper Garhwal region by foot 7500 feet above sea level. The tourism project was set up in 2013 to help the livelihoods of the locals. Its good for trekking and its simplicity is unique on its own
Chopta: Chopta is situated between Kedarnath and Badrinath, covering the Garhwal region. The place attracts lots of tourists due to its peaceful spots which are away from the development and crowded areas. Also, the Tungnath temple at Chopta is a starting point for trekking.
Pithoragarh: Uttarakhand has very few offbeat places and Pithoragarh is one of them. The place is bordered by Nepal on the eastern side and Tibet on the northern site. Pithoragarh is famous for its temple, tranquil, and serene environment. Along with rich flora and fauna, this place is an important spot in Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
New Tehri: Uttarakhand’s only planned city and one of the magical places, New Tehri has the highest and biggest dam in India. Tehri Dam drew water from Bhagirathi and Bhilangana, two major rivers. The city offers the best sites for river rafting, trekking, and rock climbing.
Peora: Suitable for those who want to spend some time in a relaxed environment. The place in Uttarakhand is located in the Himalayas and offers the most beautiful as well as jaw-dropping views. Peora boasts the vegetation and finest places where you can enjoy eco-tourism. The best time to visit here is from April to June.
Landour: Well one of the serene places, Landour is home of Ruskin Bond who is an Indian renowned author. It’s one of those places that are still untouched by commercialization, prompting the natural beauty. With breathtaking views, landscapes, and delicious cheese, Landour is attracting people from all around the world.
Things To Do In Uttarakhand
Rafting and Bungee Jumping: Uttarakhand is ideal for river rafting and bungee jumping kind of adventures; and for both such adventures, Rishikesh is always at the top of the list. Rishikesh is not just blessed with natural fresh rivers but it also has tons of adventure professionals who can help you enjoy the complete experience. The best time to visit is March to June or October to November.
For Rafting, Rishikesh is hands down the best place to try.
Trekking: In Uttarakhand, there are plenty of trekking opportunities. The Himalayas is spread covering a huge range with a beautiful view and the perfect spot for exploring the mountains. Adventure enthusiasts can enjoy the rare flora and fauna with jaw-dropping views. Well, the ideal months for trekking are April to June or October to November.
Go for Camping: Uttarakhand state is blessed with beautiful nature, making it the finest spot for camping. The popular places where you can decide to do camping include tons of Valley, Dayara Bugyal, Rishikesh, Kanatai, etc. Here you can take a break from your hectic life and enjoy your time surrounded by fresh air and beautiful nature. Try camping in months like March to June or October to November.
Try Boating: Naini Lake is the most beautiful lake in the township of Nainital. The lake’s shape is similar to the Kidney, and it’s one of the popular lakes in Kumaon. The Lake is bounded by Naini peak on Northwest, well from here you can get the beautiful view of sunrise and sunset. Also its a hotspot for boating and family picnics. You can visit here any time of the year, even in the monsoon season.
Paragliding: The best part of Paragliding in Uttarakhand is that you don’t exactly need to be an expert in this sport. Lots of paragliding experts can guide you to get a memorable paragliding experience. You can visit in months like March to June or mid-September to October.
Rappelling in Mussoorie: Rappelling is another new found adventure where the person climbs down a dangerous rock or steep hill with the use of a controlled climbing technique. The activity is thrilling and to enjoy the most, Uttarakhand has many rocks, some include waterfalls as well. Apart from Mussoorie; Rishikesh and Dhanulti are popular spots for these kinds of adventures. The best time is from March to October to avoid the monsoon season.
Attend Ganga Aarti: Every evening, Har ki Pauri Ghat hosts the Ganga aarti which is one of the most famous attractions in Haridwar. At the dusk hour, thousands of devotees and tourists come together to attend the Aarti. You can also float the lamps and flowers in the river like the rest of the others. Ganga Arti is a religious prayer that includes prayers performed by priests with a bowl of fire and temple bells.
Go for Skiing: Uttarakhand has the perfect mountains covered in snow for skiing. The ideal places where you can visit are Auli, Munyasri, Daryan Bugyal, and Mundali. However, Auli is the most famous skiing zone in Uttarakhand which is according to the international standard for skiing. With the height and spread of Himalayas, Uttarakhand gives the perfect opportunities for professionals as well as beginners. The ideal time to visit here in early November to February.
Take a Walk by Valley of Flowers: Valley of Flower was founded as a world heritage site in 1931. The valley is spread approximately 300 km to the north. Well, it is located in the Chamoli district near Badrinath. The place is famous due to its variation in flora and endemic alpine flowers. Also, it includes flowers like poppies, Marigold, Orchids, Daisies, Primulas, etc. The best time to visit here is May to October.
How To Reach Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is gradually developed and well connected with three important options in Transport. However, if you are traveling to Uttarakhand, Roadways is an ideally recommended option in transport. The roads connectivity covers intrastate and interstate both which gives the comfortable experience of road trips.
By Air – There are three options you get from different states. The first option is Pantnagar Airport situated in Pantnagar in the Kumaon region. Another one is Jolly Grant which is in Dehradun and the last one is Naini Saini Airport in Pithoragarh. From three of the options, Jolly Grant is recommended for its good connectivity and the rest of the options are yet to open.
By Rail – 16 main and small railway stations connect with Uttarakhand. It includes cities like Lucknow, Kolkata, Delhi, etc. There is a railway station that connects with Haridwar, Kathgodam, Dehradun, Tanakpur, Pantnagar, etc.
By Road – For traveling to Uttarakhand, Road is the best option to choose as it provides maximum connectivity. There are highways like NH 108, NH 109, NH 119, NH123, and NH 72 A which connect the state with other states. There is a bus unit that offers easier accessibility to Uttarakhand. Besides, you get Taxis for a better traveling experience.
Best Time To Visit Uttarakhand
A trip to Uttarakhand is suitable throughout the season. However in summers, the number of visitors and travelers increases. For winters, Uttarakhand has a pleasant experience to offer as well.
- In summers, The minimum temperature is 25° and the Maximum is 40° C. The recommended months to visit are April to June
- In Monsoon, the temperature here is Minimum 15° and the maximum is 25° C. You can visit around July to September
- For winters, The temperature reaches Min Sub Zero, and the Maximum is 18° C. The ideal months are October to February.