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11 Top Tourist Places To Visit In Uttarakhand
Leaving behind the plateaus, plains and coastal regions of India, we travel northwards to the state of Uttarakhand. The bewitching beauty of the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas, stunning glaciers, mesmerising lakes, picturesque landscapes combined with spiritual mystery, holiest of rivers and pilgrimage sites, exploring and unravelling the layered beauty of Uttarakhand can become an unforgettable experience. Alluring, intriguing and captivating, Uttarakhand is a traveler's delight. In the words of 19th century anthropologist and surveyor, Charles A. Sherring, “In those lovely valleys there is still the romance and poetry of life...” And here are the top 11 tourist places to visit in Uttarakhand, the valley of those poetries.
Haridwar, meaning Gateway to the Gods is one of the seven holy sites of India. Situated at the base of the Siwalik Hills, Haridwar is also the place from where the holy Ganges begins its 2000km journey across the plains. An extremely popular pilgrimage centre, Haridwar is the home to several temples and bathing-ghats, the holiest of them being Hari-ki-Pairi. Lord Vishnu is believed to have left his foot-prints here. As part of the evening prayer at Hari-ki-Pairi, on the banks of River Ganges, lit up ‘diyas’ are floated. It is one of the most beautiful sights one comes across here.
Yet another popular pilgrimage destination, Rishikesh is located 28km from Haridwar at the foothills of the Himalayas. Thousands of pilgrims flock here every year. Rishikesh is also known as the Yoga Capital of the World. It has several yoga centres attracting thousands of tourists.
Situated in the Kumaon region, Nanital is a popular hill station that has grown around the beautiful Lake Naini. It is popularly referred to as the Lake District of India. It is surrounded by seven hills on three sides, known as ‘Sapta Shring’.Quiet and peaceful, Nanital offers a perfect hideout for the ravaged souls.
A picturesque little hamlet, situated at an altitude of 2,420m, Binsar offers a magical and fascinating view of the Himalayan peaks including Chaukhamba, Trishul, Panchchuli, Shivling and Nanda Devi. It has an impressive forest cover providing a home to rare animals, birds and wild flowers. Binsar also offers wonderful opportunities for trekkers.
The enchanting Himalayas have bequeathed on to Kausani an idyllic beauty which is incomparable. The snow-capped mountains, silent valleys, towering coniferous trees and chirping of birds creates an ambience of peace far from the bricks and mortars of city life.
Situated at an altitude of 1880m in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan ranges Mussoorie, also known as the “Queen of Hills” is another exquisite hill station of Uttarakhand. The enchanting mountains and powerful colonial influences lend Mussoorie a poetic charm.
Ruskin Bond’s beloved town of Dehradun is as beautiful and enchanting as he describes them in his novels. An old world charm combined with the beauty of the natural surroundings, Dehradun is a refreshing retreat.
Situated at an altitude of 3000m on the banks of River Bhagirathi, Gangotri is one of the Char Dhams of Uttarakhand. It is the highest temple of Goddess Ganga. It is the place from where River Ganges originates. There is a natural rock Shivling at Gangotri submerged under water. According to myths, it is the place where Lord Shiva received Ganga in his matted locks. Apart from its religious significance, Gangotri is an enchanting tourist destination. It is the home to India’s second largest glacier, namely Gaumukh Glacier which is said to resemble a cow’s mouth. Trekking to Gaumukh Glacier is a fascinating experience.
Char Dham, when literally translated into English mean the 'four pilgrimages.' These four pilgrim centres all feature on the holy land of Uttarakhand. The Char Dham yatra includes travelling to all four temple shrines, going across high mountains and climbing trails that are best described as seasoned trekkers' trails, until you reach your destination. These 4 places include Yamunotri (the starting point of River Yamuna), Badrinath, Gangotri (the starting point of River Ganga) and Kedarnath. The trek can also be accomplished on palanquins and mules. And in recent years, by directly landing on site via helicopters.
The Char Dham yatra is one of the most coveted pilgrimage for Hindus and most Hindus manage to take at least one circuit in their lifetime.
Corbett National Park
Set amidst the Garhwal and Kumaon districts of Uttarakhand, Jim Corbett National Park is one of the largest tiger reserves in the country. In 1957 the National Park was renamed Jim Corbett National Park to commemorate the contribution of hunter turned conservationist, Jim Corbett. Tourists are treated to some amazing jungle safaris here. In addition to the wildlife reserve, Corbett Park has diverse ranges of flora and fauna. It is a paradise for nature lovers.
Auli is one of the best ski destinations of India although lesser known than Shimla, Manali or Gulmarg. Auli resort is run by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) which employs snow beaters to keep the slopes fit for skiing at all times.
Traveling through Uttarakhand and treated to a beauty that is unparalleled around every bend and at each corner will leave a tourist stranded for words. It is where the language of nature defeats the language of man.