A Paradise For Tourists
Lying in the north of the vast and bountiful expanse of India and cradled in the awesome beauty and calm serenity of the stately Himalayas , Uttaranchal - the "Devbhumi" that has attracted tourists and pilgrims from world over since time immemorial.
Sacred pilgrimages of different religions including the world famous "Char Dham " or the four Hindu pilgrimage destinations of Shri Badrinath - Kedarnath - Gangotri - Yamunotri; the sacred Sikh pilgrimage of Hemkund - Lokpal, Nanakmatta and Meetha - Reetha Sahib and Piran Kaliyar have drawn pilgrims and seekers for spiritual fulfillment to Uttaranchal. Kailsah Mansarovar, Tholingmath are all in the Chinese occupied Tibet, but for the people of yesteryears, these were some of the most important landmarks in Uttaranchal.
Comprising of eight hill districts and an area and population that equals the state of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal is an expression of divinity, austerity, meditation, penance and attainment.
Uttaranchal has been described in the ancient texts as Kedarkhand and Kurmanchal. The history of the region is older than that of the Ramayan and Mahabharata. It is a land of popular myths, like that of Lord Shiva appearing as Kirat, of Urvashi, Shakuntala, as well as the Kauravas and Pandavas.
Of the two component cultural units, Garhwal was known as "Kedarkhand", or the region of Kedarnath, and Kumaon as "Kurmanchal", the land of the "Kurmavatar" (Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as the Tortoise).
Geographically, Uttarakhand is a conglomeration of mountains and peaks, "Among mountains I am the Himalaya", said Lord Krishna in the famous Hindu holy book Bhagwat Gita. The Himalayas have been equated with God or in other words, everything in Himalayas is godly divine.
It is also said that the Pandavas went to heaven through "Swargarohan" - a heavenly spot, about 35-km north of Sri Badrinath. Did the Pandavas actually ascend from here to that heaven which is said to be beyond this world? This is a difficult question to answer. But a possible answer can be that the Pandavas shed off their mortal bodies at Swargarohan and this Swargarohan alone was the heaven, referred to in the Mahabharata. In fact heaven and otherwise everything exists in this mortal world only. Heaven is a multifaceted concept of everything good and beautiful and Uttaranchal is one of it.
The Cultural & Natural Heritage
Culturally, Uttaranchal has a rich and vibrant heritage. There are several local fairs and festivals like Jhanda Mela, Surkanda Devi Mela, Magh Mela, Nanda Devi Mela, Chaiti Mela, Purnagiri Mela, Piran Kaliyar Mela, Joljivi Mela and Uttarayani Mela, incicative of the immense possibilities for cultural tourism in Uttaranchal.
The holy river Ganga and Yamuna have their sources in the hills within this state. The rich cultural traditions, the rare natural beauty and the cool and invigorating climate of this land of origin of the holy Ganga and Yamuna Rivers have been its main attractions.
Uttaranchal still remains the source of spiritual attainments where the urge of self-realization and 'Moksha' becomes an inherent virtue dawn upon the pilgrims. Uttaranchal has that galaxy of peaks and glaciers, that vastness of meadows and jungles and that wealth of colourful jungles and valleys and dales, which have no parallel on earth.
Adventure Among The Hills!
The queen of hills, Mussoorie , the lake district of India - Nainital , Kausani, Pauri, Landsdowne, Ranikhet, Almora , Pithoragarh, Munsyari and many more attractive tourist destinations are part of Uttaranchal.
Uttaranchal is a paradise for adventure sports. The sheer variety ranging from Mountaineering, Trekking, Skiing , Skating, Water Sports to Aero Sports like Hang Gliding, Paragliding make Uttaranchal one of the most attractive destinations for adventure sports not only in India but the world over.
Along with the world-famous Corbett National Park , Uttaranchal has several breath taking destinations for wildlife tourism. These are the Rajaji National Park , Govind Pashu Vihar, Asan Barrage, Chilla and Saptarishi Ashram, the last four being a delight for bird watchers.
Uttraranchal has a flora and fauna, which is diverse as well as rare. Making this state an ideal location for Eco-Tourism. Eco tourism includes Jungle Safaris, Trekking on forest trails, Nature Walks, catch and release of Mahaseer and other fish species. However, the outmost priority in all these activities is given to retaining the ecological fragility of the region.
A clean, fresh and invigorating environment makes Uttaranchal a preferred destination to relax and unwind. From the most modern facilities at Mussorie and Nainital to the untouched, pristine beauty of its snow-clad peaks, rivers and mountains, Uttaranchal provides all that a tourist could possibly seek for amusement and leisure.