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Uttarakhand

-Exploring Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand which was earlier known as Uttaranchal is a state in northern-India.

It is usually regarded as “Devabhumi” meaning “Land of the Gods”, as there are a lot of Hindu temples and pilgrimages around here.

Kedarnath and Kedar Dome, Uttarakhand India November 2013

It is also renowned for its natural surroundings of the Himalayas, the Bhabar and the Terai regions.

It shares a border with China’s Tibet Region in the north, Nepal’s Sudurpaschim Pradesh in the east, the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh in the south and Himachal Pradesh in the west and the north-west. 

Capital of Uttarakhand

Dehradun, the largest city in the state of Uttarakhand, is the winter capital of the state. Dehradun is also the railhead. The summer capital of the state is Gairsain, a town in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It was declared summer capital on March 4th, 2020.

Chief Minister (CM) of Uttarakhand

Born on December 20th, 1960, Trivendra Singh Rawat, an Indian politician, is the eighth and current Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.

Governor of Uttarakhand

The seventh and current governor of Uttarakhand is Baby Rani Maurya, an Indian politician, serving since 26 August 2018.

High Court of Uttarakhand

The high court of Uttarakhand is situated in Nainital.

Population of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is the 20th most populous Indian state with a population of 10,086,292, according to 2011 Census of India.

Religions In Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand has 85% Hindus, 11.9% Muslims, 2.9% Sikhs and 0.6% others.

Regions of Uttarakhand

Naini Lake, Nainital

The state of Uttarakhand is divided into two parts – the Garhwal region and the Kumaon region. There are a total of 13 districts in the state.

The people of Uttarakhand are referred to as Uttarakhandi, or Garhwali, if from Gharwal and Kumaoni if from Kumaon.

Popular Languages of Uttarakhand

The official language of Uttarakhand is Hindi and Sanskrit. The regional languages of the state include Garhwali, Kumaoni and Jaunsari.

History of Uttarakhand

There is archaeological testimony which establishes the presence of humans in the province of Uttarakhand during the prehistoric times. During Ancient India’s Vedic age, the region formed a section of the Uttarakuru Kingdom.

Kunindas in the 2nd century BCE was one of the first major dynasties of Kumaon. They practised an early form of Shaivism. An early appearance of Buddhism in the region is presented by Ashokan edicts at Kalsi. 

The area was incorporated under the Katyuri rulers of Kumaon also called the ‘Kurmanchal Kingdom’, during the medieval age. This area of Uttarakhand was split into the Kumaon Kingdom and the Garhwal Kingdom after the decline of Katyuris. 

As part of the Treaty of Sugauli, most of the modern Uttarakhand was relinquished to the British in 1816.

The vicinity of various neighbouring ethnic crowds and the intimate and interdependent constitution of their geography, economy, culture, language, and traditions forged powerful connections among the two regions.

It further strengthened throughout the Uttarakhand movement for statehood in the 1990s in spite of the fact that the former hill kingdoms of Garhwal and Kumaon were ancestral competitors. 

Uttarakhand Tourism

Kosi River, Jim Corbett National Park, Ramnagar, UttarakhandUttarakhand is one of India’s most beautiful northern states nestled in the Lap of the Himalayas and is a touchstone for all.

Charming hill resorts along the snowy peaks, picturesque settlements adjacent twisting mountain trails, meandering rivers cutting through the hills, globally-distinguished conservation parks like ‘Jim Corbett Tiger National Park’ and ‘Asan Wetland Conservation Reserve’, world heritage sites like ‘Valley of Flowers’ and ‘Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve’, waterfalls rushing down slopes and tranquil lakes glistening between lovely towns – that’s Uttarakhand for you.

There are many parks telling the tale of Uttarakhand’s constant endeavours to sustain its natural environment; its affluent lifestyle and divine heritage guarantee that it stays on every traveller’s bucket list.

It has been a favourite destination for tourists from around the globe, who visit this magnificent state of Uttarakhand every year to achieve liberation for an experience that changes their lives.

Here, you can effortlessly satisfy all your adventuresome passions; whether it is flying like a bird, sailing through the demanding rapines of the Ganges, trekking to some of the most captivating heights, skiing through some of the scenic slopes and bewitching destinations, savouring the longest cable-car ride in India and much more.

Briefly, Uttrakhand is a dream destination for anyone.

Uttarakhand Is Famous for:

Dress

Chholiya folk dance of Uttarakhand kumaun region

A significant part of Uttarakhand’s traditional attire is silver and gold jewellery.

The Garhwali women are often seen wearing a saree tied in such a way that the pallu goes from the front and is knotted on the shoulder, with a waistband made of fabric.

Kumaoni women wear ghagra(long skirt) with kameez(shirt/blouse).

While Garhwali men wear kurta with pyjama or churidar, Kumaoni men also wear the same but with a turban or topi sometimes.

Dance & Music

Uttarakhand offers a wide variety of dance and music from all eras. Although, traditionally, The Kumaon’s song-form, Nyauli discovers its correspondent in Gashwal’s Khided and Jhumeilas.

These are romantic songs distributed with melodies of parting. Other forms include Phag, Pavada, Baramasa, Bair, Saiddhali, Pandav Songs and Hurkiya Baul.

These music forms are accompanied by various dance forms like Bhotia Dance, Chholia, Chamfuli, Dandala, Dhusaka and Dhurang which share similarities with Gujarat’s Garba.

Food

Uttarakhand’s cuisine is plain and made of regionally produced ingredients. They are not very spiced. Both Garhwal and Kumaon have different kinds of food items.

Some of the famous Uttarakhand’s dishes include Gahat (Kulath) Soup, Stuffed Gahat Chapatis, Gahat (Kulath), Rasmi Badi (Kofta), Bhangjeera ki Chatni, Aloo Ke Gutke, Chainsoo, Kafuli and Urad Ke Pakore (Wada).

Handicrafts

Uttarakhand also has a wealth of cultural heritage kept alive through Uttarakhand’s art and crafts. Uttarakhand’s handicrafts have the potential for adding great value to tourism.

Uttarakhand is noted for its temple design, wood carvings, paintings and classical ornaments.

The old craftsmen especially “Tamtas” (Copper were renowned for their hand-crafted utensils, and other craftsmen made valuable household articles from Bamboo and other industrial wood.

Uttarakhand’s handicraft included different styles of embroidery and handworks as well.

Top 40 Places To Visit In Uttarakhand:

Following are some of the top places to visit in Uttarakhand:

1. Dehradun

This winter capital is a picturesque site with a magnificent view of the Himalayas and the Ganga river. There is much to do in Dehradun including visiting national parks, lakes, waterfalls, hiking on hills and many temples to admire as well. 

2. Mussoorie

Park Estate, George Everest, Mussoorie

Next to Dehradun, Mussoorie is another scenic location in Uttarakhand with many hill ranges, resorts and temples.

It is a perfect destination for peace lovers, family, friends and even honeymooners. 

3. Nainital

Located amidst the Sapta Shring (seven hills), Nainital is a charming city. It is one of the most famous hill stations of Uttarakhand. Its beauty is heart-warming. 

4. Ranikhet

Ranikhet is an ideal destination for peace-seekers as it lies among the hills and at an altitude of 1829 m. Lying in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, it is now a commercialized town but still persists to preserve its charm.

5. Rishikesh

Lakshman Jhula Hanging Bridge, Rishikesh, India

Rishikesh has a lot to offer from spirituality to adventures. It is also the Yoga Capital of the World.

The famous Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula (bridges) are built and situated here.

There are a huge amount of ashrams here to give you a chance to meditate and distance yourself from the hustle-bustle of the city.

6. Chakrata

Chakrata has wondrous weather throughout the year.

Some of the must-visit places here include The Tiger falls, Ram Tal Horticultural Garden And the HathniKund Barrage.

7. Haridwar

Haridwar Ganga

Haridwar is one of the seven most holy places in India, and probably the holiest, as its name means Hari ka Dwar meaning Gateway to God.

The notable “Panch Tirth” (Five Pilgrimages) incorporating Gangadwara(Har Ki Pauri), Kushwart (Ghat), Kankhal, Biswas Tirtha(Mansa Devi) and Neel Parvat (Chandi Devi) is situated here. 

8. Auli

Auli is also referred to as Auli Bugyal. Situated in Chamoli district of Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, it is famous for its Ski resorts and many other Ski activities during the winter season.

9. Almora

Almora Uttarakhand India

Almora is noted for providing a striking panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges, distinctive handicrafts, wealthy heritage and culture as well as mouth-watering cuisine.

This beautiful place in Kumaon region attracts the attention of tourists from around the world.

10. Chopta

Chopta is an excellent place for trekking enthusiasts. This area of Uttarakhand has various trails for trekking covering forests and grasslands.

11. Landour

Landour is a town within Mussoorie district of Uttarakhand. It is known for its buildings with great colonial architecture. It also offers many high altitude points and forests with pine, oak, fir, rhododendron and other trees of Himalayas.

12. Hemkund Sahib

Also known as Hemkunt, is a Sikh pilgrimage site situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Its official name is Gurudwara Shri Hemkund Sahib Ji, devoted to Guru Gobind Singh.

13. Chardham (Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath And Kedarnath)

Kedarnath Mandir

Char Dham is one of the most significant Hindu Pilgrimages in India and the pride of Uttarakhand.

The Char Dham (four abodes) consists of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, the four holiest places in Uttarakhand.

Among Hindus, it is believed that a complete tour of these sites helps achieve ‘Moksha’ (salvation) and that every Hindu must visit them once a lifetime.

14. Dhanaulti

The trekking routes to Top Niba and Surkanda Devo are the major attractions in Dhanaulti of Uttarakhand. It is also known for beautiful meadows and a breath-taking view of the Himalayas.

You can also go mountain biking, horse riding, rappelling and camping in the area.

15. Kanatal

The major attractions of Kanatal include apple orchids and a scenic view of the Himalayas. It also serves as a great picnic spot for a peaceful weekend getaway in Uttarakhand.

16. Mukteshwar

Mukteshwar

Mukteshwar is renowned for the popular Mukteshwar temple of Lord Shiva in Uttarakhand. It is also a great spot for rappelling, rock climbing and other adventure sports.

17. Binsar

Binsar is situated 33 km from Almora district of Uttarakhand. It is known for its surreal beauty of snowy Himalayas.

You can find here forests with oak, pine, rhododendrons and deodar trees. There are also many pretty lush green meadows, wildlife sanctuaries and temples.

18. Bhimtal

Bhimtal lake view

Lying 1370 m above sea level, Bhimtal is better known as the Glittering Lake City of Uttarakhand.

It is named after Mahabharata’s mythological character, Bhima.

19. Uttarkashi

Popularly known as Somya Kashi, Uttarkashi, meaning Kashi of North, is a place for religious tourists as well as adventure sports enthusiasts.

The town is often referred to as Shivnagri meaning city of Lord Shiva.

20. Lansdowne

Lansdowne View

Lansdowne of Uttarakhand is named after Lord Lansdowne from the British era in India.

It is one of the quietest Indian hill stations. The place is like a memoir of activities by the Britishers during their time.

21. Munsiyari

Munsiyari is among one of the famous destinations for trekking in Uttarakhand.

It has been serving as the base camp for many famous trails, like Khalia top trek, Thamri Kund trek, etc.

22. Pithoragarh

Pithoragarh of Uttarakhand gives way to various significant pilgrimages like Kailash Parvat, Om Parvat and the Mansarovar lake.

It serves as the northern entrance to the Himalayas. The old forts and temples here serve as the major attraction in the town.

23. Chamoli

Flowers Blossom At valley of flowers Chamoli, India

Chamoli is the biggest tourist hub in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. From temples to national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and many adventure sporting spots, Chamoli is the pride of Uttarakhand’s Tourism industry.

Some chief must-visit places around here include Badrinath temple, Gopinath temple, Tungnath, Ukhimath, Chopta, Hemkund Sahib, Auli, Valley Of Flowers, etc.

24. Sattal

Sattal comes from the joining of words saat (seven) and tal (lake), giving Sattal the title ‘Town of Seven Lakes’.

Located in the Nainital district of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Sattal lies at an elevation of 4000 feet and is known for its freshwater lakes. 

25. Joshimath

Joshimath gives entry to various mountaineering expeditions and other adventure activities. It also serves as the gateway to the famous Valley of Flowers of Uttarakhand.

26. Naukuchiatal

Naukuchiatal-Shikara

Located 1200 m above sea level, Naukuchiatal is famous for its nine cornered lake.

Naukuchiatal along with Nainital, Sattal and Bhimtal of Uttarakhand, make up the Lake district of India.

27. Madhyamaheshwar

Madhyamaheshwar is one of the most picturesque spots in the Panch Kedar of Uttarakhand.

It is also known for various Shiv temples, adventure sports, meadows, trekking and other pilgrimages. 

28. Tehri Garhwal

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tehri_Dam.jpg

The district consists of two regions mainly New Tehri and Old Tehri. The major attraction of Tehri is the Tehri Dam of Uttarakhand which is one of the world’s largest dams.

It is a hydroelectric project harnessing waters from Himalaya’s two major rivers namely Bhagirathi and Bhilangana.

29. Kausani, Bageshwar

Situated in Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand,  Kausani is one of the most spectacular hill stations in this area of Uttarakhand.

It offers a 200 km wide panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges including the famous peaks like Trisul, Panchachuli and Nanda Devi.

30. Ramgarh

Known as the fruit bowl of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Ramgarh is famous for its flourishing orchards with wide ranges of fruits like apples, apricots, peaches and pears.

The town is divided into two major regions namely Malla at a high altitude and Talla at downhill.

View of Gaumukh21. Gaumukh

The Gaumukh or Gormukhi glacier is noteworthy for its resourcefulness as an adventure sports destination.

It is the source of many adventurous activities like trekking, camping, and is also known as for religious expeditions.

32. Dharchula

Located in the centre of Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand, Dharchula is famous for its rich culture and vivid traditions.

It is one of the major tourist destinations in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, perching at an altitude of 915 m. It lies on the way to Kailash Mansarovar and Chota Kailash.

33. Guptakashi

The ancient Vishwanath temple devoted to Lord Shiva is one of the major attractions of Guptakashi of Uttarakhand.

It is also known for Ardhanarishvara temple of Lord Shiva and his wife, Parvati. Ardhanarishvara means half man – half woman.

34. Pauri Garhwal

Located in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, Pauri is known for various temples and other places offering a scenic view.

The Kandoliya Temple and Danda Nagaraja Temple in the town are significant attractions and are crowded with followers all around the year.

35. Rudraprayag

Confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini at Rudraprayag

Lying in the route of Kedarnath pilgrim of Uttarakhand, Rudraprayag is celebrated for the convergence of two sacred rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini.

As such, this area of Uttarakhand is visited by many tourists from all over the world.

36. Devprayag

Devprayag is an adventure sports hub offering various adventurous activities especially rafting in the notable Ganga river.

It is also known for the Panch Prayag, the confluence of five holy rivers in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.

37. Mount Abbott

Located east of Kumaon hills near Lohaghat, Mount Abbott is popularized for cosy cottages, especially the noteworthy Abbott Mount Cottage. It comes under the Champawat district of Uttarakhand.

38. Chaukori

Covered with beautiful hill stations and a lot of greenery, Chaukori in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand is a must-visit for peace lovers. It is also a picnic spot for family, friends and honeymooners. 

39. Bhowali

Bhowali City

The T.B sanatorium from 1912 is one of the most visited places in Bhowali region. It serves as a major market of fruits for the entire neighbourhood.

It is also an essential terminal to nearby hill stations including Nainital, Bhimtal, Ranikhet, Mukteshwar and Almora districts of Uttarakhand.

40. Patal Bhuvaneshwar

Rumoured for its many myths and mysteries, Patal Bhuvaneshwar of Uttarakhand is distinguished for the 160m long cave of limestone which is devoted to Lord Shiva.

It is believed that the cave is visited by pilgrims from all over the country for seeking blessings as it is the home to 33 crores Hindu deities.

Famous National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries In Uttarakhand:

1. Gangotri National Park

Situated near Uttarkashi, Gangotri National Park is one of the highest wildlife sanctuaries in India. The popular Gaumukh glacier from which the Ganga river originates resides in Gangotri National Park.

The park is covered with dense coniferous trees, pine, deodar, fir, spruce, oak and rhododendrons.

There are also 15 mammal species and 150 bird species found here which includes Himalayan Barbet, Ibex, Tiger, Thar, Serow, Pheasants, Partridges, Doves, Pigeons, Parakeet, Bulbul, etc.

2. Govind Pashu Vihar National Park

Located in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, Govind Wildlife Sanctuary also known as Govind Pashu Vihar National Park, is famous for mountain ranges with their average elevation from 1400 m to 6323 m like Swargarohini, Black Peak and Bandarpunch.

The area is covered with Chirpine, scrub tropical Euphorbia scrub and oak species.

The fauna here includes Himalayan black bears, snow leopard, brown bears, tragopan, tahr, serow, monal, chir, bharal, the gold eagle, Himalayan snowcock, musk, deer, koklas, kaleej pheasants, chukar, the bearded vulture, the black eagle, etc.

3. Jim Corbett National Park

Bengal-Tiger Corbett Uttarakhand Dec-2013

This national park from Nainital is the oldest known Indian national park which was established in 1936.

It was formerly called Hailey National Park. There are wide varieties of flora and fauna found here with 488 different species of plants and 600 different species of birds.

Some of the wildlife includes Elephants, Hedgehog, King Cobra, Nilgai, Chital, Tigers, Flying fox, common Musk Shrew, Indian Pangolin, Muntjac, Wild Boar, Gharial, Sambar Deer, etc.

4. Nanda Devi National Park

Nanda Devi National Park is also known as Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.

Located around the peak of Nanda Devi, it is home to Himalayan tahr, Himalayan musk deer, mainland serow, Himalayan black bear, Langurs, snow leopard, rhesus macaque, Goral and 114 bird species.

The vegetation here includes birch, fir, juniper, rhododendron, and 312 floral species including 17 rare species. 

5. Rajaji National Park

Rajaji National Park, Rishikesh, Uttaranchal

Rajaji National Park resulted from the merging of three wildlife sanctuaries from 1983, namely Chilla, Motichur and Rajaji.

The park covers the area of Shivaliks, lying on the foothills of the Himalayan ranges. It was declared a Tiger reserve on April 15th, 2015.

The flora here consists of shisham Dalbergia sissoo, Sal Shorea robusta, Palash Butea monosperma, Arjun Terminalia arjuna, Khair Senegalia catechu, Rohini Mallotus philippensis, amaltas Cassia fistula, bel Aegle marmelos, Sandan, chamaror Ehretia, amla Phyllanthus Emblica, kachnar Bauhienia Variegata, baans Dendrocalamus strictus, semul Bombax ceiba,  ber Ziziphus mauritiana, chilla Casearia, etc.

It is home to various species of fauna comprising of elephants, tigers, deers, sloth bears, nilgai, leopards, boar, langur, hyena, jackal, fox, king cobra, Goral, Indian hare, monitor lizard, Indian porcupine, python etc.

There are also 315 species of bird found inside totalling to 500 when covering the nearby regions.

6. Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary

Cradled between the Gola and Sharda rivers in Haldwani forest division, this sanctuary serves as a natural habitat for 100 varieties of trees, 30 varieties of shrubs, 35varities of grasses and climber, 250 varieties of birds, 15 varieties of reptiles and 20 varieties of fishes.

The major attraction here is a 120 ft high and 54 ft wide tree called the King of Trees, which is believed to be at least 200 years old. The major fauna species here include elephants, tiger, leopards and sloth bears.

7. Valley of Flowers National Park

Valley of flowers uttaranchal full view

As the name suggests, the Valley of Flowers is now a national park in the western part of the Himalayan ranges.

The very pleasant meadows overflowing with alpine flowers form an unusual view and makes it a must-visit in the entire Uttarakhand.

8. Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary

Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary is home to the endangered Musk Deer, and also serves as a natural habitat to Bengal tiger, Himalayan jungle cat, Indian leopard, Himalayan brown bear, bison, lemurs, civet, etc.

Located at 1600 m near the Pithoragarh town, the sanctuary is bestowed with countless species of flora and fauna. Askot’s forest is covered with teak, eucalyptus and other varieties of herbs and shrubs.

9. Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary

Binsar Oak Forests

Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for the ruby red rhododendron which is in full bloom in the months of March and April.

It entertains 25 kinds of trees, 7 species of grasses, 24 varieties of bushes, 200 bird varieties, and many mammal species.

Some of them include oak and rhododendron trees, leopard, goral, chital, pine marten, wild boar, langur, red giant flying squirrel, tits, forktail, blackbird, monal, pheasant, eagles, etc.

10. Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary

The sanctuary is also known as Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary or Kedarnath Vanya Jeev Prabha. It covers the districts of Chamoli and Rudraprayag of Uttarakhand.

It is named after the Kedarnath temple of Char Dham.

Covered with temperate forests, with patches of sub-alpine and alpine coniferous forests, the sanctuary is home to musk deer, yellow-throated marten, snow leopard, jackal, leopard, Himalayan black bear, wild boar, Royle’s mountain vole, the red giant flying squirrel, the Boulenger’s keelback and the Himalayan pit viper. The place is also home to some myriad birds.

11. Naina Devi Himalayan Bird Conservation Reserve

This bird reserve in Pangot hosts bird species from around the world including Cheer Pheasant, Greater Spotted Eagle, Grey-crowned Prinia, Green-crowned Warbler, Red-headed Vulture, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Black-crested Tit, Whistler’s Warbler, etc.

The place is covered with dense forests of pine and okay. The place is a perfect destination for bird watchers.

Fairs and Festivals Of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand celebrates a lot of festivals in their unique style. Following are some of them:

1. Nanda Devi Mela

Nanda Devi is the head of Uttarakhand’s goddess and various shrines in the central Himalayas are dedicated to her. Nanda Devi Fair is one of Uttarakhand’s most beautiful and famous festivals.

Nanda means prosperity and well-being. The festival is held every year during the month of September to commemorate Goddesses Nanda and Sunanda and symbolizes spiritual and material prosperity.

It is said that during the rule of Raja Kalyan Chand in the 16th century it began in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.

2. Ganga Dussehra Festival

Ganga Dashara Festival, 2005 at Har ki Pauri, Haridwar

Ganga Dussehra is a Hindu festival that celebrated the Avatarana (descent) of the Ganges.

It is also known as Gangavataran. Hindus believe that on the day the Ganges Holy River went down from heaven to earth.

On the 10th day (Dashami) of the waxing moon(Shukla Paksha) of the Hindu calendar month of Jyeshtha, Ganga Dussehra takes place. The festival lasts 10 days, including nine days before this holy day.

3. International Yoga Festival, Rishikesh

Over the course of the month of March 2019, the International Yoga Festival was held in the Ganga Resort in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand (India) via the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board (UTDB) and Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN).

This is the government’s official festival which offers a platform to showcase best practices of yoga among both traditional and contemporary styles.

4. Nanda Devi Raj Jat

In the Nanda Devi temples spread across Garhwal and Kumaon, the Nanda Devi jat is celebrated annually. The festival begins the day earmarked for Devi to visit her maiden house and ends with her return to her husband’s home.

This tradition is conveyed elegantly through Uttarakhand’s folk songs. In Almora, Nainital, Nauti, Dandidhara, Munsiyari and Ranikhet, Nanda Devi Fairs are held, the most famous of which is Almora fair and Roopkund fair.

5. Kumbh Mela At Uttarakhand

Bathing ghat on the Ganges during Kumbh Mela, 2010, Haridwar

Kumbh Mela is presumably the world’s largest religious gathering. While millions of pilgrims are attending all the Kumbh Melas, the top one of all is Haridwar.

There is thus an exceptional media coverage and tourism traffic in the Kumbh Mela of Haridwar. In Hindu mythological scriptures, the place is called the gateway to the heavens.

On the occasion of these Kumbh Melas, devoted Hindus are trying to cleanse their souls and wash away their sin by taking a sacred dip in the holy river banks.

During this time it is believed that the water from these rivers becomes purifying nectar that enables devout people to purify their souls.

6. Uttarayani Mela

The Uttarayani Fair usually takes place on the holy occasion of Makar Sankranti every second week of January.

It has been held in a number of locations including Bageshwar, Ranibagh and Hanseshwar in Uttarakhand, although the Bageshwar Fair is traditionally the greatest.

The site of the Bagnath temple is on the banks of the Saryu River, where the fair should be held. The event lasts a week.

7. Ghee Sankranti

On the first day of Bhado (August), in Uttarakhand, Ghee Sankranti, which is also known as the festival of Olgia, is celebrated. It is one of the major events in the state of Uttarakhand that has always been celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm.

When the crops grow well and the dairy animals are also healthy, the ancient state festival is celebrated. Not only that, but the trees are also full of fruits as well.

It’s basically an event that expresses the gratitude of local people and families in farming. The festival is celebrated to mark the harvest season and show gratitude for health and wealth.

8. Purnagiri Mela

During Navratri, the Purnagiri Mela is organized by Shri Purnagiri temple, located on the Annapurna range in Uttarakhand. These areas provide extraordinarily beautiful scenery.

The temple is located on the right bank of the Kali river in the District of Champawat, 20 kilometres away from Tanakpur.

The distance to Tunyas is 17 kilometres and a 3-kilometre walk leads to the Temple of Purnagiri, the Uttarakhand’s site of Purnagiri Mela. Due to this fair,  you can see a huge rush on the Tanakpur market

9. Syalde Bikhauti Mela

In Dwarahat, a village in Kumaon, the Syalde – Bikhauti Mela is being held. The fair takes place annually in Vaisakh month. The fair starts at the beginning of the Hindu New Year.

The festival is carried in two stages. First will be held at Lord Shiva’s Vimandeshwar temple, 8 kilometres from Dwarahat, on the last day of the month of Chaitra, and the other at Dwarahat’s market, on the first day of Vaisakh.

10. Phool Dei Festival

Phool Dei, known as the Uttarakhand state harvest festival is an excellent folk festival that welcomes the state’s spring season. The first day of the Hindu month, Chaitra is when the festival is held.

Young girls are the most excited to take part in the festival. The flowers and springtime are what Phool Dei all about. The festival is celebrated as a carnival for a month at some places.

The term “Dei” refers to a ceremonial pudding made of jaggery is the key food of this festival. Everybody is offered white flour and curd as well.

11. Harela & Bhitauli Festival

Harela was celebrated three times in one year at the beginning of the new season, in the region of Kumaon, Uttarakhand. 

This Hindu Kumaonian festival is held during both the Navratris, Chaitra Navratri in the month March-April, the Chaitra, Sharad Navratri in the month of Ashwin which is September-October, and in Shravan in late July.

Following this festival is Bhitauli, an opportunity to give money to the young girls in the family. Essentially the farming communities in the region pay much reverence for this occasion.

12. Kangdali festival

The Kangdali Festival is held in the Dharchula district of Pithoragarh of  Uttarakhand, by the Rung (Shauka) tribals of the Chaunda Valley.

It takes place from August to October every twelve years. The festival coincides with the once in 12 years flowering of the Kangdali plants. Kangdali is known to commemorate Zorawar Singh ‘s defeat in 1841, who attacked this area from Ladakh.

A second version, folklore, tells of a child who died because of a lack of treatment. The deadly injured boy was the only son of the poor widow and the paste of Kangdali flowers alone could heal his wound.

13. Kanwar Yatra

Kanwar Yatra

The Kanwar Yatra is a yearly pilgrimage to Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri pilgrimage places at Uttarakhand and Sultangany, in Bihar, to fetch the sacred waters of the Ganges River, by the devotees of Shiva, known as Kanvaria, and “Bhole.”

Millions of participants collect sacred water from Ganga and take the Ganga to their local shrines or to specific temples such as the Temple of Pura Mahadev and Augharnath in Meerut and Kashi Vishwanath, Baidyanath and Deoghar in Jharkhand to dispense as offerings from their hundreds of miles of pilgrimage.

14. Bissu Mela

The Uttarakhand’s Jaunsari tribes celebrate a Bissu Fair, lasting for one week, which marks happiness and success coupled with the time of harvest.

The event is held in the Dehradun District’s Chakrata Block.

The Bissu Fair reflects the abundance of Jaunsaris’ cultural heritage and rich traditions. People from nearby Tehri, Uttarkashi and Saharanpur have been participating in this fair in large numbers.

15. Magh Mela

The annual Magh Mela festival is a festival with fairs held at the Magha river banks and sacred tanks near Hindu temples in the month of January / February.

Magha Melas coincides approximately every twelve years with what is supposed by the faith heads to be the Jupiter, the sun and the moon’s astrologically auspicious position, and these are called the Kumbh- Mela like the one in Allahabad (Prayagraj). 

Best Time To Visit Uttarakhand

Kosi River valley near Almora, Uttarakhand, IndiaThe best time to visit Uttarakhand is from March to April and from mid-September to mid-October. During summers, activities like paragliding, trekking, and the Char Dham Yatra( Four Pilgrimages) are popular.

Summer is the peak season of Uttarakhand. Winters start from November and last till February, and are the best times for rafting in Rishikesh and spotting wildlife in Jim Corbett National Park.

You can experience snowfall in some parts of Uttarakhand like Mussoorie and Nainital.

Despite being an all-year holiday destination, it is not advisable to visit Uttarakhand in July and August which are the peak monsoon seasons.

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