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Nainital Almora Ranikhet Pithoragarh Jim Corbett Park Badrinath
  Kedarnath Mussoorie Rishikesh Dehradoon  
    Hemkund Sahib Haridwar Gangotri  

Garhwal and Kumaon compared to Switzerland.

Later on, the Gurkha regime controlled Garhwal. The British East India Company, after ridding Uttarakhand of this regime, allowed the Maharaja of Garhwal to rule over one part of Garhwal -- Tehri Garhwal -- while another part, namely Pauri Garhwal, remained British.

Bill Aitken, in his book "The Nanda Devi Affair", writes, "...To Hindu hillmen "Kumaon Himalaya" instead of Uttarakhand was a gratuitous insult and to students of geography, it became a baffling riddle that gave rise to hilarious assumptions totally at variance with ground realities. The worst victims were mountaineers in transit who, ignorant of the Wars of Roses situation that holds between Kumaonis and Garhwalis, failed to understand that this usage to a Garhwali is like describing Lancashire as part of Greater Yorkshire or Harvard as an outpost of Yale..."



The hill districts of Garhwal and Kumaon, like those of Nepal, were backward, lacking good roads and communication systems till 1962. But the Indo-Chinese conflict in 1962 awakened the Indian government, which prioritized the development of the remote hilly areas by establishing communication networks and roads. As a result, within 20 years there was a well-spread out network of roads all over the Indian HImalayas, making access to the mountains easier.
Garhwal today remains a land of myth and legend, where every stone tells a story. Kumaon which lies almost south to the great Himalayan range, is moderate in it's constitution. The lie of its land is gentler in its undulations, its lore more lyrical. What permeates the open valleys is a simpler, singular faith in the presiding deity of Kumaon - Nanda Devi, the goddess of Bliss. The graceful peak of Nanda Devi , is visible from almost everywhere in Kumaon. Nanda Devi who is said to be the reincarnation of Parvati is said to represent the icy, unmoving form of Parvati in endless anticipation of her desired consort, Lord Shiva.


A brief description of fascinating and breathtaking places in Utrakhand



Nainital is a beautiful hill district nestled in the lap of central himalayas in the Kumaon region. It's subtle yet pristine glory is manifested in the lofty snow capped peaks, green valleys & serene lakes that have tempted lovers of beauty since times immortal.: ( 1938 mts.) : It is renowned as India's lake district, surrounded by Naina peak ( 2611 mts.), Laria Kanta ( 2481 mts.), Snow View (2270 mts.), and Dorothy's Seat ( 2292 mts.) all offering enchanting views. The major lakes are Bhimtal, Sattal, Naukuchiatal and Khurpatal. Other important places in Nainital district are the Corbett National Park, India's most popular wild life reserve.



Almora is situatead at an elevation of 5400 ft in the Kumaon Hills, Almora is known for it's healthy climate.It is perched atop the 5 km long saddle shaped ridge of Kashya Hill which is mentioned in ancient scriptures.
The town of Almora was founded about 1560 AD by Balo Kalyan Chand, the Raja of Champawat. It was ruled by the Chand Rajas upto the 18th century. The Gorkhas ruled for about 25 years, after which it came under the British control till independence.
Almora is the cultural centre of Kumaon & a picturesque mountain resort.While it is bordered by the gentle hills of Kumaon on three sides, its northern front affords a breathtaking view of the Trishul peaks. Sunrise offers a particulary beautiful view of the greater Himalayas.
.) : The city of Almora lies amidst terraced slopes along a saddle ridge. The majestic panorama of the Himalayas can be seen from Almora.Kausani, 53 Kms. from Almora, offers spectacular views of Trishul, Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot Peaks. Bageshwar, 74 Kms. from Almora is the base camp for trekkers to Pindari, Kafani, Sunderdhunga and Namik Glaciers. Binsar, 36Kms. from Almora in a reserve forest area offers glorious views of the Himalayas.

The temples in Almora district, some of which date back to a thousand years are known as 'Himdari' style of architecture - Jageshwar (37Kms.) has 150 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva; Baijnath (65 Kms.) has a 41/2 feet high image of Goddess Parvati; Katarmal ( 17Kms.) has an ancient Sun Temple, while Gannath ( 47 Kms.) and Bageshwar ( 74Kms.) have Shiva temples. Dronagiri ( 52 Kms. from Ranikhet) is an ancient Shakti Peeth held in great reverence by the locals.
Area : 11.9 sq.km
Altitude : 5400 ft. above sea level


Ranikhet is situated at 1829 mtrs this sylvan retreat offers an interesting mix of hill & military cultures. According to legends, a queen, in the course of a journey came by this spot & was so enchanted by it that she settled down here.Ranikhet has forest of oak & pine and is a fine place to enjoy a panoramic view of the Himalayas, from the Bhagiriti peaks in the west to the Nanda kot in the east.It is an ideal holiday for nature lovers and its main attractions, apart from it's natural beauty are a golf course, the orchids of Chaubatia and the Jhoola Devi temple.



The district of Pithoragarh, bordering Tibet and Nepal, is a treasure house of attractions for visitors, mountaineers, tourists, iconologists and the religious minded.
The town, located in the midst of an extensive valley, has many remnants of historic fortifications dating back to the time of Chand Rajas of Kumaon. The Valley about 8 km in length and 5 km in breadth, resembles Kashmir valley ona miniature scale. Pithoragarh, the headquarter-town of the district of very name, is located in sprawling vballey which has charm of its own, is one of the lovelist in the Uttar Praddesh hills.
Champawat, the ancient capital of the Katyuri and Chand Rajas, is an idyllic resort located in the lush Champa Valley of Kumaon. Situated at a height of 1615mtrs., it is on the road to Pithoragarh. It was at Champawat the Lord Vishnu is said to have appeared in his tortoise incarnation (Kurmavatar), hence Kumaon came to be known as Kurmanchal. Kumaon is also the legendary domain of Lord Shiva.

While the ruins of the fort and temples speak of the historical and religious importance of Champawat's past, the scenic beauty of the place is still abundant, the enjoyable.

The Kedarnath Shrine, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, is a scenic spot situated , against the backdrop of majestic Kedarnath range. At an altitude of of 3,581 mt. it is a 14 km trek from gaurikund.


Kedar is another name of lord Shiva, the protector & the destroyer. Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions - love, hatred, fear, death & mysticism which are expressed through his various forms.
According to legend, the pandavas after having won over the kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers & sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption.He eluded them repeatedly & while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four places and are worshiped there as his manifestations.
The arms appeared at Tunganath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madmaheshwar & his locks at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath including these four shrines is treated as Panch Kedar


Badrinath is situated in the lap of Nar-Narayan Parvat with the towering Neelkanth Peak (6,597 mts) in the background, Badrinath is one of the most reverred Hindu Shrines of India.
Badrinath situated at an elevation of 3,133 mtrs is considered to be amongst the most pious for hindus. With it's great scenic beauty & attractive recreational spots in the vicinity, Badrinath attracts an ever increasing number of Secular visitors year after year.


Gangotri is one of the Char Dhams of Uttarakhand.Situated in the magnificient Garhwal Himalayas at an elevation of 3048 meters & 105 Kms from uttarkashi. The Gangotri shrine is seen as the spiritual source of Hinduism's most sacred river, the Ganga. According to Hindu mythology, Ganga, the stream of life, was granted as a reward for king Bhagirathi's severe penance and the river is worshiped as a deity. The physical source of the river is at Gaumukh, 18 km south-east of Gangotri, along the gangotri glacier.
The temple at gangotri is visited by thousands of pilgrims between May & November, was built by a Gorkha Commander Amar Singh Thapa in the early 18th century.


Mussoorie -In 1827, Captain Young of the British Army chanced upon his extraordinarily beautiful wooded reige & created the centre around which the hill station grew. Just 38 km from Dehradun, Mussoorie offers views of both the snow capped Himalayan ranges to the north & the Shivaliks and plains to the south. The erstwhile aristocratic resort is now a Popular hill station & promises a variety of entertainment throughout the year.


Rishikesh is set along the banks of the Ganga at its confluence with Chandrabhaga,the holy river just emerged from the high mountains. Thickly wooded hills of the terrai straddle it's banks & the waters run deep & silent. Rishikesh has long been a spiritual centre.


Haridwar is the place where the Ganga enters the plains after a turbulent journey in the Himalayas. Here, the river broadens and slows down considerably. Haridwar is a town of temples, dharamsalas, ashrams and saints and sages from all parts of India. The Ganga is worshipped in ghats, with colorful ceremonies being performed at the Har-ki-Pauri. Different roads from northern India reach Haridwar en route to Rishikesh and destinations higher up in the mountains.


Nestled in a wide & thickly forested valley of the Shivalik ranges, known for its salubrious climate. Once a stronghold of the Garhwal Kings & later appropriated
by the british as a residential resort, the town has several institutions, it's proximity
to Mussoorie is an added attraction.
Legend has it that Guru Dronacharya, a saint & a great teacher of Mahabharat epic, underwent severe penances here & thus the valley has acquired the name after him.

Another significant historical event is that Guru Ram Rai, the Sikh Guru camped in this valley at the place where the present Guru Ram Rai Darbar exists.


The forests of Garhwal & Kumaon region, ranging from Terai to mixed deciduous & alpine ranges, harbour some of the exotic species of our wildlife. Snow leopards, thars, bharals, brown & himalayan black bears, serows, tigers, leopards, elephants and an immense variety of avaian species inhabit the preservation zones, like the sancturies & national parks, or open forests dotting the countryside. Streams & rivers in stretches, teem with fish like mahaseer, hill trout & conch.

Jim Corbett Park is the oldest park in India, extends along the banks of the Ramganga river, encompassing the dense Sal Forests of the Himalayan foothills & the Savannah vegetation of tall grassy meadows. This is one of the richest areas for the typical big mammals of northern India, renamed after Jim Corbett the famous hunter, author and pioneer conservationist who helped set up this wildlife sanctuary.
With elevations in the Park ranging from 400m to 1210m there is a rich diversity in habitat. Animals of the Himalayas and those of peninsular India can both be seen here and over 50 mammal and 25 reptile species have been recorded at Corbett. Among the predators are the tiger, leopard, diverse species of lesser cats and the dhole - the wild dog.


This imposing star-shaped structure of stone and concrete masonry is on the shores of the lake. An outlet behind the Gurudwara is the source of the Lakshman Ganga. This sacred Sikh shrine is situated on the shores of the Hemkund Lake (4320 mtrs).It marks the place where Guru Govind Singh, the tenth and last Guru, unified with God after prolonged meditation in his previous birth. The guru's autobiography whichcontains a detailed description of the place helped two devout Sikhs, Sant Sohan Singh and Havldar Mohan Singh to rediscover it. According to Hindu mythology, Himkund of Lokpal as it is also known, is where Lukshman had done his penance.


"Yehan Parbat Parbat Heere Hein: Faiz"