Pleasant summers, severe monsoons and harsh winters is the weather pattern in most hilly regions of India. It's no different for Uttarakhand. If you are planning a trip to the state, the best time to explore Uttarakhand tourism is during summer or winter.
Travelling during monsoon is discouraged since you won't be able to enjoy sightseeing tours or the various adventure activities. As per the Uttarakhand travel guide, monsoon in Uttarakhand begins in the month of July and lasts until September. We strongly recommend not travelling during this time.
Summer, on the other hand, is a beautiful time to explore Uttarakhand tourism. Beginning in the month of March and lasting until June, this is the peak season for Uttarakhand tourism. You'll not only be treated to warm sunshine but can also admire the verdant greenery around you.
For those who want to explore Uttarakhand tourism during winter, the best time to visit is between October and February. The day temperatures are at 15 degrees Celsius while nights are extremely cold with temperatures as low as minus one degree Celsius.
Like most places in India, Uttarakhand offers experiences which can be customised to your budget and interests. So if you are a backpacker and want to explore Uttarakhand tourism, you can easily plan a budget trip. At the same time, luxury travellers can experience the best of everything in high-end, boutique properties which will take your breath away.
Luxury travellers can experience Uttarakhand tourism with per day costs of Rs.12,000 to Rs.20,000.
For mid-budget travellers, a trip to explore Uttarakhand tourism can cost between Rs.3000 to Rs.5000. It's important to remember that the amount will completely depend on the kind of places you are including in your Uttarakhand trip.
Budget travellers can expect to spend anywhere between Rs.700 to Rs.1000 per day. While Uttarakhand tourism has made efforts to make it easier for backpackers, there are a few factors such as transport, lack of hostels and unpredictable weather conditions which may increase your budget.
There are numerous places to see in Uttarakhand tourism which offer travellers a perfect blend of beauty, adventure and spirituality.
Rishikesh and Haridwar
Rishikesh and Haridwar are two cities you can visit together. Located a few kilometres from each other, both Rishikesh and Haridwar offer different experiences. Haridwar is an important pilgrimage spot for Hindus and an integral part of Uttarakhand tourism. It's believed that one can wash away sins in the holy Ganga and you'll see a large number of pilgrims performing various rituals along the ghats. This is also the city where Hindus perform last rites and other after-death rituals. The city is home to numerous temples and is mostly visited by spiritual seekers.
Rishikesh is popular with backpackers, trekkers and spiritual seekers. Home to numerous health resorts which offer yoga and meditation retreats, Rishikesh hugely contributes to Uttarakhand tourism. Owing to the presence of spiritual centres, Rishikesh also sees a large number of foreign tourists.
Another reason Rishikesh is one of the most popular places in Uttarakhand tourism is due to the several adventure activities you can do here. From rafting, rappelling, rock climbing to bungee jumping, river crossing and trekking – there is a lot to keep travellers busy. One can book adventure tours focused on these activities or can also opt for yoga retreats customised to suit the needs of fitness enthusiasts.
Among the best places to visit in Uttarakhand tourism, we recommend including Laksham Jhula, Triveni Ghat, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Bharat Mandir and Chaurasi Kutia, which is better known as the Beatles Ashram.
It's important to remember that most campsites along the Ganga River are now closed and you will have to stay in hotels or guest houses if you want to enjoy the enthralling river rafting tour.
Most people consider Nainital to be a busy tourist spot in Uttarakhand tourism. While that is true, Nainital is also an ideal hill station for nature lovers and peace seekers. If you travel during shoulder or off-season, you will have the opportunity to witness a different, much quieter city.
For those who are planning a peaceful retreat to Nainital, we recommend visiting from December to March. The serenity and almost empty tourist attractions will allow you to explore Nainital according to your comfort.
One can also combine a visit to Nainital with a trip to Bhimtal, Naukuchiatal and Sattal. In fact, this is one of the best ways to explore the region and you can easily spend up to one week here. While boating is unarguably the best thing to try in Nainital, we also suggest trekking, nature walks and of course, a fulfilling food tour.
Naini Lake which is situated in the midst of town is a mesmerising sight and boating here is unmissable. Surrounded by the market on one side and craggy mountains on the other, Naini Lake is a treat for the eyes. It's almost surprising to see the contrasting views of the lake in the midst of bustling streets.
Naini Lake, Naina Devi Temple, Eco Cave Gardens, Tiffin Top and Snow View Point are the best places to visit in Nainital. For shopping enthusiasts, the busy Tibetan Market and Mall Road are perfect for souvenir shopping. Don't forget to take back handmade candles, woollens and wooden items.
Dehradun is undoubtedly one of the most well-known destinations in Uttarakhand tourism. The charming Doon Valley and its sister hill station of Mussoorie are perfect getaways for locals as well as tourists.
Dehradun is the capital of Uttarakhand and is surrounded by the majestic Garhwal mountains. The city is blessed with pleasant weather throughout the year, making it among the top choices for travellers from across the country. The city has a strong presence of Buddhist culture and one can witness this through the numerous monasteries here. The Mindrolling Monastery is one of the biggest and most important monasteries of the Nyingma School in Tibet and is frequented by travellers. You can easily spend a couple of hours here enjoying the serenity and quiet the monastery offers.
Robber's Cave is one of the most popular spots in Dehradun. It is a natural cave and is surrounded by hills and waterfalls. Owing to its popularity, Robber's Cave is almost always crowded. Another equally beautiful and popular place is Sahastradhara (thousand springs) which is around 22kilometres away from the city. The water of the springs is said to have therapeutic and healing properties.
Despite the rush of travellers, the valley has a number of unexplored places that are simply breathtaking. Recently the city has also gained popularity in Uttarakhand tourism owing to the numerous cafes which have opened. These cafes not only serve world cuisines but also offer the perfect mountain vibe with wooden interiors and cosy nooks.
For shopping enthusiasts, Dehradun's Paltan Bazaar is the place to be. The market has everything you'll need, including artefacts, spices and clothes. The market is generally very crowded but offers great bargains.
The hill station of Mussoorie is known for its winding roads, lush green mountains, boutique resorts and the majestic views of the Doon Valley. Mussoorie is one of the most frequented hill stations in Uttarakhand tourism, especially by travellers from the North Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.
Mussoorie is approximately 35 kilometres or one-and-a-half hours away from Dehradun. The drive itself is a great experience, with winding roads, majestic views of Doon Valley and small tea shops along the way.
The hill station was established by the British, owing to its cool climate and beautiful views. Since then it has become one of the most famous hill stations in Uttarakhand tourism, especially for honeymooners.
The Mall Road in Mussoorie is full of shops and hawkers selling local goods and local cuisine. The influence of Tibetian culture is clearly visible here, especially in restaurants so you can expect hot momos and steaming thukpa.
For adventure seekers, the hill station offers a number of activities such as trekking, paragliding and rafting in Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers.
There are a number of spots close to Mussoorie that are a must-visit for travellers and a big part of Uttarakhand tourism. The most famous among them are Lal Tibba, Kempty Falls, Gun Hill and Benog Wildlife Sanctuary.
One of the most important tourist attractions in Uttarakhand tourism, Badrinath is a holy town which attracts visitors from across the country. Situated near the Alaknanda River and between Nar and Narayan mountain ranges, the city is most popular for the Badrinarayan Temple.
A part of the chota Char Dham yatra, Badrinath temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The town is mentioned in most sacred texts and there are many legends surrounding its origin. Surrounded by mesmerising snow-clad Himalayas, the surreal beauty of this small town will captivate you.
You must include a visit to the temple which is believed to be established by Adi Shankaracharya. The idol of Lord Vishnu in the temple is made of black stone and it’s said that the statue is self-manifested. The temple is also mentioned in the 108 Divya Desams which are devoted to Lord Vishnu. Besides the idol of Lord Vishnu, the temple is also dedicated to numerous other Hindu deities including Lord Shiva.
Below the Badrinath temple is tapt kund or a hot spring which is said to have healing properties. It’s also considered to be the origin of River Alaknanda. Visitors can head here for a dip but it’s recommended to be careful since the area is quite busy.
Owing to its religious and mythological importance, Badrinath is a huge attraction for spiritual seekers in Uttarakhand tourism. But, its geographical location has also made it popular among adventure enthusiasts. There are numerous trekking trails that begin from Badrinath and it serves as a base for these tours. Contributing to Uttarakhand tourism, trekking has become a popular activity here.
The best time to head to Badrinath is between May and July and September to October. One should avoid visiting during peak monsoons and winters.
If your idea of a holiday is spending time amidst natural beauty, then Kausani is the place for you. A part of offbeat Uttarakhand tourism, the small town is located 51km from Almora. The town doesn’t see too many tourists and this is part of its charm.
Visited mostly by adventure enthusiasts owing to the numerous trekking trails, Kausani has gained popularity in Uttarakhand tourism in the last few years. Besides exploring the breathtaking natural beauty, one can head to Anashakti or Mahatma Gandhi Ashram, Baijnath Temple, Kausani Tea Estate and Rudradhari Falls. Anashakti Ashram will give you a glimpse into Mahatma Gandhi’s life when he stayed in the small town for a brief period. Housing books, letters and clothes, the ashram is a guesthouse, research centre and a museum for history lovers.
For travellers who are planning to include Kausani in their tour of Uttarakhand tourism, it’s important to know that the town is unlike other cities in the state. There are no big hotels or restaurants to keep you busy. However, if you are looking for a laid-back, peaceful retreat which offers a glimpse into local life, then this is the place for you.
We recommend heading here before monsoons begin. You can take a bus or cab from Almora since there isn’t any train connectivity. For those who are interested in local tours of the area, we recommend seeking help from locals. This will not only ensure you have a fulfilling trip but will also give you a chance to explore lesser-known spots of Uttarakhand tourism.
Valley of Flowers
Situated in Chamoli district, the Valley of Flowers is a beautiful national park which is a big part of Uttarakhand tourism. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the valley is located at the meeting point of Zanskar and Western Himalayas.
The valley is also mentioned in ancient texts and is said to be the place from where Lord Hanuman brought the sanjivani booti. Since the Valley of Flowers is bordered by Nepal and Tibet, it’s slightly tricky to reach. The closest main town is Chamoli and one can start the trek from Pulna near Govind Ghat. Typically, the trek takes about eight hours, but the duration will completely depend on your fitness level. Though it’s not a beginner level trek since one needs considerable stamina, it’s perfect for moderate and professional trekkers.
Before including Valley of Flowers in your Uttarakhand itinerary, you must make the required bookings. The valley is open from June till October and is closed for the rest of the year owing to heavy snowfall. Unlike the rest of Uttarakhand, the best time to visit the valley is between July and August, in the peak of monsoon. Before July, you won’t find any flowers and might be disappointed.It’s important to remember that camping is prohibited and you will have to plan your return on the same day.
One of the best things about exploring Uttarakhand tourism is the local cuisine. While the cuisine is similar throughout the state, each city offers a different rendition of the same dish. Most of the ingredients used in the local cuisine are grown in the state and you can expect fresh food each time.
With influences of the Garhwal and Kumaon regions, the food is cooked slowly over burning charcoal. This retains the nutritional content as well as lends it a smokey flavour. Kafuli which is a spinach preparation, phaanu which is made of pulses, kandalee ka saag, chainsoo and dubuk are some of the popular dishes in the region.
While local food is easily available in small restaurants, it’s difficult to find in cafes and well-known restaurant chains. You can try local eating joints in Rishikesh, Bhimtal, Nainital, Kausani and Mukteshwar for a taste of the local cuisine.
Some of the best places to eat in Uttarakhand are:
One of the primary contributors to Uttarakhand tourism is adventure activities, especially trekking. The numerous mountain ranges in the state are a dream for enthusiastic trekkers. Offering opportunities for amateurs as well as professionals, some of the best trekking trails in India are located here.
Valley of Flowers, Chopta, Har ki Dun, Gangotri - Gaumukh, Rupin Pass and Roopkund are some of the most popular treks in Uttarakhand tourism. Taking place throughout the year, these treks attract travellers from across the world.
In fact, some travellers believe that the best way to explore Uttarakhand tourism is by trekking. Besides the natural beauty that you witness, trekking gives one an opportunity to interact with locals. There are several trekking packages for Uttarakhand that one can choose depending on your budget and interests. However, we do recommend thorough planning before booking Uttarakhand tourism packages.
Another huge contributor to Uttarakhand tourism is river rafting. One of the best places to try your hand at this thrilling activity, Uttarakhand has been a favourite with adventure enthusiasts for decades. While Rishikesh is the go-to city for rafting, cliff jumping and bungee jumping, there are a few other spots which are gradually gaining popularity.
One of the biggest reasons Rishikesh is a prime spot for rafting is its proximity to major cities such as Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Among other places which are great spots for rafting, we recommend Pithoragarh, Ranikhet and Kumaon. With rafting opportunities in River Kosi, River Kali, River Tons, these are the best places to try rafting in Uttarakhand tourism if you have already explored Rishikesh.
The best time to try rafting is during summer and winter when the flow of the water is manageable. Rafting is closed during monsoon due to incessant rains. Earlier, camping and rafting were preferred activities in Rishikesh but owing to huge crowds, camping is now restricted in the city.
Nothing compares to a bird’s eye view of small towns, craggy mountains and countless lakes and ponds. Paragliding is a popular activity in Uttarakhand tourism and if you are planning a trip to the state, this should definitely be a part of your Uttarakhand itinerary.
There are numerous places to try paragliding in Uttarakhand tourism but Naukuchiatal undoubtedly offers the best experience. Owing to the popularity of the activity, numerous other towns have also started paragliding. Mussoorie, Rishikesh and Almora are a few other places where you can experience the bliss of flying in the air.
Paragliding is completely dependent on the weather and the best time to try this is during summer and winter. As long as the wind is in your favour, you can expect a beautiful experience. A paragliding experience in Uttarakhand will cost you anywhere between Rs.800 to Rs.1400.
After a long day of sightseeing and outdoor activities, all one needs is a comfortable bed to sleep on. And the hotels in Uttarakhand definitely don't disappoint. From luxurious, mid-budget, budget properties to guesthouses, hostels, camps and cottages – accommodation in Uttarakhand is an experience in itself. The hotels here give travellers a chance to experience Uttarakhand tourism at its best.
Luxury hotels in Uttarakhand
There are several luxury properties which promise efficient service, breathtaking views and an experience you won't forget. Complete with spas and health centres, most properties are thoughtfully designed keeping in mind your best interests. Here are some luxury hotels which are a part of Uttarakhand tourism.
Mid-budget hotels in Uttarakhand
Promising the perfect balance between prompt service and comfortable rooms, mid-budget hotels in Uttarakhand are ideal for those who want to experience the best of both worlds. Here are some mid-budget hotels which are a part of Uttarakhand tourism.
Budget hotels in Uttarakhand
If a hotel room means only a place to crash after a long day then budget hotels in Uttarakhand are ideal for you. Complete with basic rooms, delicious food and warm hospitality, these hotels will fit in your budget and will also offer unforgettable experiences. Here are some budget hotels which are a part of Uttarakhand tourism.
In an effort to boost Uttarakhand tourism, the state has made efforts to streamline public transport. While this has improved things drastically and has benefitted travellers, there is still a lot to be done.
Buses are the easiest way to explore Uttarakhand tourism. However, erratic bus timings create havoc when one is trying to plan a Uttarakhand itinerary. The bus-stops are not permanent, the buses don’t follow a schedule and there isn’t a fixed route. If you are travelling on a budget, we recommend keeping aside some buffer time in case of unexpected delays.
There is good train connectivity between the cities in Uttarakhand. You can book tickets for inter-city rail travel for those cities which have a railway station. However, we strongly recommend booking all train tickets well in advance.
Uttarakhand has a strong network of roads and you can travel by taxi if you are moving from one city to another. However, this is an expensive means of transport and if you are travelling on a budget, it may not be the most convenient. This is also a good means of transport when you have to travel to cities which have no bus and train connectivity.