Land of the Gods: Uttarakhand

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Known for its scenic beauty, amazing landscapes, diverse culture and kind people, Uttarakhand is a state situated in the northern side of the country. The state has been divided into two main commissionaires: Garhwal and Kumaon. These two regions have different cultures, festivals, dance forms, cuisines and of course languages. This makes Uttarakhand a state with diversity. Here’s an overview of this beautiful state.

Apart from the festivals which are celebrated nationwide. There are many festivals which are exclusive of the state’s tradition and are celebrated with much pomp and show in the state. Agriculture is one of the main occupations which people here practice. Thus there are many festivals which are celebrated in order to welcome the rainy season, harvest season and various phases of a crop. Following are the examples of some of them:

HARYALA (name in the local dialect): This festival is mainly celebrated in the Kumaon region. Seven cereals are sowed and then presented to the Lord to seek blessing for the good crop and rain. Women sing songs and dance with joy and prepare various local cuisines. This festival celebrates the commencement of the rainy season and all the greenery that comes with it.

BHITAULI: This festival falls on the very first day of Sharavan month of the Hindu calendar. Brothers and sisters share gifts with each other during this festival. This festival is shared with much zeal in the state.

GHEE SANKRANTI: This is one of the most important festivals of Uttarakhand. It is celebrated during the BHADO month of the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated to pray for the growing crops. Thus it’s mostly celebrated when the crops are lush green and are growing in abundance.

HILIJATRA: This is kind of a carnival celebrated in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. It is the festival of pastoralists and agriculturalists. Animals sacrifice is also a part of the festival. Dance performances like “CHANCHARI” are main attraction of the festival.

Well, just like the festivals the cuisines of Uttarakhand are also amazing. Milk and milk products are used in abundance in the local cuisines. Since many type of cereals are grown in the state, the major ingredients in any cuisine are cereals. The food is simple yet finger licking good. Ghee and mustard oil are used for the sauté. Simple food is given flavor by various spices which are exclusively found in Uttarakhand. Green vegetables are grown and relished by most of the people.

Some of the main cuisines of the state are:

1- CHAISA

2- BHATT KI CHURDKANI

3- KAFULI

4- RAS

5- ARSA

6- GULGULA

Apart from the diverse culture, the landscapes and scenic beauty of Uttarakhand also attracts many tourists from across the globe. Uttarakhand is home for many wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations and rivers. It’s called THE DEVBHOMI (the land of gods) for there are many temples and pilgrimage sites in the state. The temples are so magnificent and divine that tourists from not only India, but from the whole world come to visit them. Following are some of the most travelled tourist destinations of Uttarakhand which will surely provoke you to pay a visit to them:

1- MUSSORIE: known as the queen of the hills, Mussorie is a small hill station in Uttarakhand admired for its scenic beauty. Every year, during winters, Mussorie becomes a hub of tourists from across the globe. Nights in Mussorie are a treat for the eyes. One can see the whole Dehradun valley from this place. It’s few kilometers from the capital Dehradun.

2- RISHIKESH: Rishikesh is popularly known as the YOGA capital of the world. People come to this beautiful city situated near the GANGES in order to seek spirituality. The Ghats are filled with thousand s of tourists praying, along with the chanting of mantras. Water sports like rafting and river crossing etc are also very popular here. Rishikesh is easy to reach and is connected by roadways.

3- CHAMBA: Chamba is an unexplored beauty and holds and appealing surrounding to those seeking an escape from the stressful life of the cities. It’s not a much visited city, thus it’s away from the hustle bustle of the cities. It’s 60 Kms from Mussorie.

4- AULI: Known for adventure sports like skiing, Auli is a beautiful and small hill station. People mostly visit Auli during snow. Auli offers an amazing opportunity to adventure enthusiasts for skiing is the main attraction of the place. It’s 8 Kms from JOSHIMATH.

5- CHAKRATA: Formerly known as JAUNSAR BAWAR, Chakrata is a small town known for the solace it holds in its environment. It’s about 90 Kms from the capital Dehradun. The famous temple of Lord MAHASU is one of the most appealing aspects of the town.

6- NAINITAL: Situated in the Kumaon region of the state, Nainital is famous for its picturesque beauty. The NAINI Lake is the main and the most famous tourist destination of the city. The city has a small market which is famous for its scented candles. It’s one of the best getaways from the hectic schedule of today’s world.

7- KAUSANI: It wouldn’t be wrong to call Kausani mini Switzerland. The beauty of this place can’t be described in words. Enormous mountains and dense forests create an escape way for the body and soul.

8- MUKETSHWAR: Surrounded by thick coniferous forests, Muketshwar is a small town situated at a distance of about 50kms from Nainital. It’s also known for the majestic view of the Himalayas. The famous Veterinary Research Institute is also located here.

Uttarakhand is also a paradise for trekkers.

There are many treks which attracts a lot of tourists. Following is the list of some the most amazing treks of Uttarakhand.

1- ROOPKUND TREK.

2-VALLEY OF FLOWERS TREK

3-HAR-KI-DUN TREK

4-NANDA DEVI TREK

5-AULI KAURI PASS TAPOVAN TREK

The words fall short for the praises of the state. One must pay a visit to Uttarakhand once in a lifetime. The list cannot accommodate the number of beautiful places which one can visit in here. There are many. The state is simply divine.

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