The most popular cities of
Uttarakhand are Almora, Musoorie, Nanital, Ranikhet, Kausani, Binsar and
Pithoragarh. Almora with its Koshi and Suyal rivers is nature at her best,
and Mussoorie lies located 2,500 meters above sea level in the green
Himalayan range, overlooking the Uttarakhand capital of Dehra-Doon that lies
shimmering in the valley below. Ranikhet is a small town surrounded by
mountains on three sides and once called the ‘City of 60 Lakes’. While most
of these have disappeared over the years, the main attraction today is the
Naini Lake around which the city is spread. Pithoragarh is the easternmost
hill district of the state and is often described as a ‘Miniature Kashmir’
because of its pristine beauty and snowy splendor.
Loved for their relatively virgin beauty, their
unadulterated natural freshness and their brilliant scenic landscape these
sites are equally preferred by the adventurous and the religious. In a world
of rushing around all day, Uttarakhand is therefore the ideal get-away to
rejuvenate oneself in body, soul and mind, and to savour the beauty of the
world we live in through moments spent in a land of depth and value.
Main Cities /
Dehradun , the Capital city of Uttrakhand
the capital city of the state of Uttarakhand. It is a well known tourist
destination for a long time. Besides being a travel destination, the city is
also known for public schools, IMA and other national institutes. The entire
district is surrounded by the mighty Himalayas in the North, aging Shivalik
Hills in the South, the River Ganga in the East and River Yamuna in the
The soil of the region is very fertile and most plants and trees grow
quickly and bear bountiful fruits. Dehradun has a Sub-Tropical type of
weather with chilly winters, humid and crisp springs, scorching summers and
a strong monsoon. Dehradun has premium educational and research institutes
such as Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indira Gandhi National Forest
Academy, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing and Indian Institute of
Petroleum. Excellent schools like the Doon School, Welham School for Girls &
Boys, Army School and Rashtriya Indian Military College are also present
Tourist attraction in Dehradun
Rajaji National Park -
distinct for its pristine scenic beauty and rich bio- diversity. Rajaji
National Park in the state of Uttranchal is situated along the hills and
foothills of Shivalik ranges in the Himalayan foothills and exhibits the
Shivalik ecosystem. Rajaji is one of northern India’s major wildlife
reserves - and one of the best places to see the fauna and flora of the
terai region. The park named after the great freedom fighter Late Sri C.
Rajgopalachari; popularly known as "Rajaji" was created after joining the
three sanctuaries in the Western UP, Shivaliks - Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla
into a large protected area in the year 1983.Elephant Rides are conducted in
morning and eveningIn Rajaji you will see as many as 23 species of mammals
and 315 birds species.
- Chakrata is a small town near Dehradun which served as an infantry base
during the British rule. It is especially known for tranquil, beautiful and
pollution free surroundings. The hill station is positioned between the
Rivers Tons and Yamuna at an altitude of 5,500-6,500 ft.
Forest Research Institute -
On the Kaulagarh Road, northwest of the
city center is the Forest Research Institute. Established by the British in
1906, the institute is dedicated to the preservation of India's varied and
much-threatened flora and fauna. Located in extensive grounds covered with
myriad species of India's forest wealth, it is the biggest forest based
product-training institute and the training school for all forest officers
Tapkeshwar Temple - Situated in the Garhi Cantonment area, 5.5 km from the city center is
the Tapkeshwar Mahadev temple. It is a cave temple, on the banks of a
seasonal river, dedicated to Lord Shiva and is the only significant temple
in Dehradun. Beside he river are steps that lead to a cave in which water
drips from the ceiling on a shivling. It is after the dripping that the
temple has derived its name 'Tapkeshwar'. Legends connect this temple to the
time of the Mahabharat when, it is believed, Lord Shiva made milk flow from
this cave for Ashwathama, the son of Guru Dronacharya, the teacher of both
the Kauravas and Pandavas.
Tapovan is a sacred site about five km from the city center on the
Dehradun-Rajpur Road. The place is located in the picturesque Doon valley
and according to popular belief, Guru Dronacharya, the teacher of warfare to
the Kauravas and Pandavas, underwent his penance here.
Malsi Deer Park -
At the foothills of the Shivalik range, about 10
km from Dehradun on the road leading to Mussorie, a new tourist spot named
the Malsi Deer park has been developed. The park with its deer, neelgai, and
a variety of birds makes it an ideal excursion site. It also serves as a
picnic spot where the tourists en route to Mussorie can take a break. A
mini-zoo with a children's park and lovely natural surroundings do their bit
to attract tourists of all age groups.
Dehradun is full of legends
but so is the state of Uttarakhand it is situated in. The entire region was
once supposed to be submerged under a lake but environmental changes made it
a terrestrial heaven. There is a lot to see in the Doon Valley (as it is
locally called), especially temples and the rivulet forests.
Indian Military Academy
- Located in Dehradun, the Indian Military Academy is an institution that
trains men who officer the Indian Army. The Indian Military Academy became
functional from 1st October 1932 with batch of 40 Gentlemen Cadets.
Brigadier L.P. Collins was its first commandant.
Robbers Cave -
Also known as Guchu Pani, and situated at a distance of
eight km from the city center, Robbers cave is a beautiful picnic spot. On
display here is one of natures strange phenomena; a stream of water goes
underground here and reappears a few meters away. The cave is surrounded by
hills and is a beautiful getaway for those looking for peace and quiet of
the hills. Buses are available up to the nearby Anarwala village, from where
the caves are only a kilometer away
- Around 14 km from Dehradun is the cold Sulphur water spring
called Sahastradhara. The spring is believed to have exceptional medicinal
value and the dripping caves and a bath in the Baldi River near the spring
are said to rejuvenate the body and soul. Many people come to the spring in
the hope of being cured from polio and other such ailments.
Almora is one of the most
beautiful places in Kumaon region. The glamour and glitter, which is seen in
Ranikhet and Nainital, is totally absent in Almora. In this point of view
Almora is very virgin hill-station and is full of scenic beauty. It appears
that Mother Nature has spread and blessed this place with her pure love.
Nestled in the lap of nature this region has small houses built on the
slopes and splendor of this place is added colorful attire of the natives.
Just besides city flow the Koshi (Kaushaki) and Suyal (Salmali) rivers. In
the 9th century Almora was ruled by Katyur dynasty. By 16th century rulers
from Chandravansh ruled this place. King Balo Kalyan Chand established this
town in 1563. This place was then Capital City of Kumaon region. The forts,
monuments and palaces built by the rulers of Chandravansh and Katyur dynasty
are even today evidence of the splendor this place had in the past. In 1790
Almora passed in the hands of Nepal Gorkhas. The British’s gained control of
this place from Gorkhas in 1815. Almora is situated on a hillock, which is
in Horseshoe shape and is surrounded by dense forests of fur and pine trees.
In the backdrop are the lovely snow-capped peaks of Himalayas.
Tourist attraction in Almora
Public Museum -
Near Almora bus stand is the
Govind Vallabh Pant Public Museum. This museum provides a deep insight of
the development of art, culture, life style of this region. It has very rich
collection items relating to Archaeological, Historic and cultural
significance. This museum has unique collection of 'Apen', a folk style of
painting. One can have a good view of the various aspect of this style
painting. This museum is open from 10:30 in the morning to 4; 30 in the
Nanda Devi Temple -
This ancient temple is one of the
main attractions of Almora town. This temple is hundreds of years old and
carries deep faith of many people from this area. The images and statues on
walls of this temple are intricately and delicately carved. They are very
attractive and almost true to life depiction has been done. Every year a
fair, Nanda Devi fair, is organized here. People from all over the place
come and participate in this fair. Groups of young men & women dance on the
pulsating music of the mountains.
Chetai Temple -
The local people have much faith
on this temple. The Chetai temple is located eight kms from Almora. This
temple is surrounded by dense fur and pine tree forest. If you are a nature
lover then you will certainly enjoy this place.
Bright & Corner -
Two kms from Almora is situated
Bright and Corner. This place became famous for excellent sight of sunset
and sunrise. From Bright and Corner a different kind of view is obtained of
dawn and dusk. The unusual calm and peacefulness during this time is rarely
felt on any other hill station offering a similar view. Serene and calm
circuit house very close to this point is an added attraction. Nearby is the
Vivekanand library in Ramkrishna Kutir. In this library one can find many
books relating to philosophy and spiritual thinking. There is also a place
dedicated to Swami Vivekanand. It was at this place Vivekanand spend few
days while his stay in Himalayas.
Park is located some three kms from Almora. An evening stroll in Deer Park
has its own pleasure.
This is a picnic spot about three kms from Almora town. The whole
place is covered with pine and fur trees. The calmness and peaceful
environment has fun of its own kind.
From Klamath one gets a good view
of Almora town and the adjoining area. The sight of the nearby hills is
amazing. This place is 4.5 kms from Almora. Close to Kalimath is Kasar Devi.
There is temple dedicated to Kasar Devi. This temple dates back to second
century. One can go on foot from Kalimath to Kasardevi, which is hardly one
lovely place with gardens and forests is located 10 kms from Almora. Martola
is so scenic and picturesque that many foreigners decided to settle here.
This place is a good picnic spot.
Natural beauty of this place
surpasses any other place. Koshi is 12 kms from Almora. The Govind Vallabh
Pant Environment Research Institute is located here. There is guesthouse,
which provides good and comfortable stay at Koshi.
Jageshwar is located 34 kms from
Almora. There is an ancient Shiva temple at Jageshwar. Huge fur trees
surround this temple. In fact, this temple is in the series of ancient
temples, which were built in Kumaon region many centuries ago. The Jageshwar
Shiva temple carries archaeological importance too. The architecture of this
temple is worth giving a close examination.
Gannath is known for natural caves
and ancient Shiva temples. This place is 47 kms from Almora. It is good
place for nature lovers and ideal for spending your day with surpassing
beauty. Every year on Kartik Purnima day a fair is organized here.
has received its name from Lord Binsar Deo or Shiva. Binsar is 30 kms from
Almora. The Chandravansi King Kalyan built the Shiva temple. This temple is
built at a height of 2,412 meters. The peace and calm of Binsar provides
peace of mind and soul.
Bageshwar is the commercial town of Kumaon region. This town is some 90 kms
from Almora. It is located along the River Saryu. There is temple dedicated
to Lord Bagnath from which this place derives its name. This temple was
built in 1450. A little away from Bageshwar is the Pindari Glacier. At
Bageshwar one has good accommodation facilities.
Baijnath is a place of much historical importance. This is 71 kms from
Almora and 21 kms from Bageshwar. There are many ancient temples at
Baijnath. These temples have historical and archaeological importance. These
temples have Shiva, Ganesha, and Parvati as the presiding deities. Most of
the temples are located along the Gomti River. Rulers of Katyur dynasty
built these temples in 12th and 13th century.
Champawat was the capital of the Chand Rajas of Kumaon. The tradition of the
present appellation of Kumaon is also associated with Champawat. It is
believed that Lord Vishnu take the tortoise incarnation (Kurm Avatar) and
penanced for several hundred years on a mountain in Champawat. The place
where he penanced became famous as Kurmachal and Kumaon is its natural
temple evolution. The mount on which the temple of Ghatku, the illustrious
Ghatotkach of the Mahabharata is sited is supposed to be the Kumarchal of
Skanda Purana. This term was first applied to eastern part of present Kumaon
and later extended to the entire region.
Tourist attraction in Champawat
- Mayawati Ashram is situated about 22 km from Champawat and 9 km from
Lohaghat. Mayawati Ashram is the cherished dream of Swami Vivekanand. The
monastery has got extensive land, and at one time it even had a small tea
plantation. At Mayawati, one can clearly visualize how nature supplies to a
Man’s soul spiritual sustenance. The most elevating sight in Mayawati is the
magnificent snow range of Himalayas and its silvery dazzle on a moonlit
night reminds of Lord Shiva sitting in a meditation posture.
- Abbot Mount is situated about 25 km from Champawat and
11 km from Lohaghat. Abbot Mount is situated amidst thick forests of oak and
deodar. This place was developed by Mr. Abbot in 1914, and known for its
scenic grandeur and a breathtaking view of the Himalayan peaks.
Shyamla Tal is situated about 30 km from Tanakpur along the route to
Champawat and then 4 km on foot from Sukhidhang or on jeep. This place has
some ruins dating back to the days of early Chand rulers and others which
are associated with the Pandavas. Shyamla Tal is famous for its beautiful
lake which is spread over an area of 1.5 km. In 1915, the Vivekanand Ashram
was also established here.
Lohaghat is situated about 14 km from Champawat on the
banks of the Lohawati river. It is a center of historical and mythological
importance. The town is situated amidst tall deodar trees and has a Degree
College, two inter colleges and a Polytechnic college.
- Vanasur’s Fort is situated about 7 km from Lohaghat
and 20 km from Champawat. To reach Vanasur's Fort, you have to travel to
Karnakaryat from Lohaghat for 6 km by road and from there you have to
negotiate a distance of 1 km by bridle path to reach Vanasur's Fort.
Manch and Tamli
- Manch is situated amidst thick forests towards the river Kali at distance
of 40 km from Champawat. These forests are manifestations of the deep rooted
local tradition of forest preservation. The dhune (sacred fire which burns
continuously) of Guru Gorakhnath is situated here and the entire hill has
been dedicated to him. The Tamli village is situated downhill near the river
Kali. Tamli is the last village of India.
- Purnagiri is situated about 20 km from Tanakpur and 92 km
from Champawat. It is a famous shrine of great sanctity. Thousands of
pilgrims from different parts of the country visit this holy place every
year. It is said that Lord Shiva while carrying the dead body of Sati
dropped her naval here. Nothing can surpass the beauty and variety of the
scenery around Purnagiri. After the festival of Holi, a fair is also held
here for 40 days.
Meetha Reetha Sahib
- Meetha Reetha Sahib is situated about 72 km
from Champawat. It is said that Guru Nanak Dev visited this place and had
spiritual discussions with the jogis of Gorakhnath sect. The Gurudwara was
built in 1960 at the confluence of Ladhiya and Ratia rivers near village
Corbett National Park is the first National Park
of India that was formerly known as Hailey National Park. The park, spread
in a vast expanse of 520.82 sq km is the pride of India when it comes to
wildlife sanctuaries. Initial efforts were done by Major Ramsay in 1900 and
in 1936 an area of 256 sq. km was marked for the park by the then Governor
General of United province Sir Malcolm Hailey. All these efforts had come up
as a result of few conservationists who wanted to protect the park from
being cut down and animals being hunted down on regular basis. The Park was
finally named Jim Corbett National Park in 1957 after Jim Corbett. He was a
known man in the area, a hunter turned conservationists. He knew the place
inside out and played an important role in making the park a success story.
He had also hunted down several man eating tigers in the area in 1950's. The
park was named after him after he died.
In 1970's when extinction of tigers in the country became a serious issue,
Project Tiger was inaugurated from Corbett National Park with the aid from
World Wildlife Fund. In 1991 the area of park was increased and Sonanadi
Wildlife Sanctuary was also included in it.
The park today is a major success as a result of continuous efforts by
conservationists. It is one of the best preserved forest and tiger reserves
in the country.
Tourist attraction of Corbett National Park
Adding to the beauty of Corbett National Park is its green belt i.e. the
flora here. Sal trees are here in large numbers, especially in the lower
regions. The higher regions have Chir, Anauri and Bakli trees. Bamboo
varieties are also found at large (though they are a cause of irritant to
the jungle authorities as they spread like weeds). Falling leaves of Sal
trees make a beautiful sight during summers but are cause of concern as they
can cause fire. A major part of the Corbett also comprises of the
grasslands, the varieties popularly known as 'Dhikhala' and 'Khinanauli'.
Not very tall, these grasses are good places to catch up with herds of
There are some fifty species of mammals in the park. Of all the species
here, tigers are the obvious ones which attract tourists. Apart from tigers,
there are Indian elephants which one would spot easily. Other animals which
you can spot here, some on your own and some with little guidance are
Leopards, Jungle Cats, Fishing Cats (a rare species), Caracal Sloth Bear,
Wild Boar, Langur, Rhesus Monkey, Cheetah, Sambar, Pada (Hog Deer), Muntjac
Bear (Barking Deer) and Ghoral (Mountain Goat). If you take a guided tour
then you might even get to see Martens, Civets, Mongoose, Otters,
Porcupines, Jackals, Pangolins and Macaques.
There are quite a number of reptiles also in Corbett National Park. Some of
the common reptiles you will spot here are Gharials (fish eating
crocodiles), Muggers (another species of crocodiles), Monitor Lizards,
Turtles, Cobras, Pythons, Sal forest Tortoise, Russell's viper and kraits.
Surprisingly Corbett along with some ferocious beasts is also home to many
species of birds. Especially the area around the Ramganga reservoir is a
natural habitat of birds. According to a survey by zoological survey of
India there are some 600 species of birds available in Corbett National
Park. A lot of migrant birds can also be seen here.
Some of the species are Herons, Darters, Cormorants, Lapwings, Paradise
Flycatchers, Munias, Weaver birds, Eagles, Black throated Payas, Mynas,
Kingfishers, migrant Gulls, Kalij Pheasants, Grebes, Grey Lags, Snipes,
Harriers, Ospreys, Minivets, Babblers, Hornbills, falcons and Stone Curlews.
- Most of the visitors, if not all, come with the purpose of seeing tigers
in Corbett National Park. The best time to see them is April to mid June.
The park authorities claim that the park has 140 tigers. However, there is
no guarantee that you will spot one or not. In case you have come specially
to spot a tiger then take jeep since it will help you cover more area in
less time. The guides here are very well versed with the howls and cries,
sounds and trails which will take you to tigers.
- Enjoy the fun of sitting on the largest living mammal on land and feel the
bumping ride as you go up and down on the rough terrain. There are less
chances of spotting tigers this way but the fun is worth giving a try. And
when you spot some animals, you actually have more time to see them then in
jeep since elephants are slower, but take photographs on your own risk!
Fishing is permitted in Corbett in Ramganga, Kosi, Mandal and Kothari
rivers. But you need to take permission before you go fishing. Rods are
available on hire. Resorts also arrange fishing and angling trips here. So
you can catch fish, and have your own lunch here.
Walking in the park is not allowed but you can go trekking in the forest
reserves around the park. Take comfortable trekking shoes and try to blend
with the surroundings by wearing natural earth colours. It gets freezing in
winters so be equipped for that. Don't disturb the natural habitat and make
minimum noise. And most important of all do not forget your binoculars, in
case you don't carry one, you will repent later.
Kids Corner In Corbett
- There are special 'Earth camps' in Corbett to keep the kids hooked.
Started in 2004, the camp aims to bring children closer to particular
'Biomes' to give them first hand experience of nature. The 'Biomes' are
specially tailored to match with the requirements of biology curriculams of
school going children.
Other attractions in Corbett
Situated in the rich farm belt of Terai, on the
southeastern fringes of the great forests, the busy market town of Ramnagar
is the main administrative centre for Corbett National Park and Project
Tiger. Ramnagar makes a fishing base camp. At Lohachaur, 15-kms north along
the River Kosi, good anglers are in with a chance of landing the legendary
Mahseer, a redoubtable battling River Carp. Permits to have a go must be
sought from the Project Tiger office in Ramnagar; most resorts also arrange
all inclusive fishing trips.
Wildlife Viewing -
Chital, Sambar, and various other Deer species
find refuge in the Savannah grasslands known as the Maidan, behind the
campsite to the south, and Tigers are occasionally drawn in looking for
prey. Two hour elephant rides, explore this sea of grass, rarely penetrating
far into the deep jungles beyond; try to convince your Mahout or Elephant
driver to venture in, as they can be quite magical. Come at dusk or dawn; in
the heat of the day you probably won’t come across much more than deer among
the tall grass. Tiger-sightings are few and far between, but you may be
rewarded with fresh pug marks.
- A wonderful way to explore this vast park is through
jeep safari. It is not possible to cover the entire length of the park on
foot on a three to four day trip. If you are here specially for tigers then
it is always advisable to take a jeep safari as you will be able to cover
more area in less time. Besides the drivers are also experienced and
instantly recognise the sounds and know the tracks of tigers. So it is
always better to take a jeep safari.
the heart of the core area is picturesquely located at the edge of a grassy
plateau perched high above the Ramganga reservoir and set into a bend in the
This is a favourite viewing area. The Chaur and surrounding forest
support the highest density of tigers in the country-about one every 5 Sq.
km. Splendid herds of chital, hog deer and elephants are also to be seen
here. There are viewing tower as well as elephant rides for visitors, every
morning and evening. This is perhaps the best way to see wildlife for it is
possible to go deep into the Park on elephants, to get close to the animals
in an unobtrusive manner and to get a clear view of them.
Badarinath Dham is considered as one of the most sacred centres of
pilgrimage situated in the lofty Himalayan heights in the Garhwal hill
tracks (Uttarakhand). Situated at the height of 3133 m (10248 feet) above
sea level. The route to Badarinath is one of the most fascinating one due to
the lofty hilly terrain, curves and cliffs amidst the most scenically
beautiful place on the earth.
Throughout the route to Badarinath there are numerous pilgrimage sites at
Deo Prayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandaprayag and Vishnuprayag; as well
as Pandukeswar where king Pandu observed Tapasya with his queen Madri and
where his sons Pandavas, stayed during their pilgrimage to heaven, and the
site where Bhima and Hanuman (sons of Vayu) met.
At Badarinath Lord MahaVishnu is believed to have done his penance. Seeing
the Lord doing his penance in the open, Goddess Mahalaxmi is believed to
have assumed the form of Badari tree to provide him shelter to face the
onslaught of the adverse weather conditions, therefore the name Badari
Narayan. It is believed that Lord Vishnu revealed to Narad rishi that Nar &
Naryans forms were his own. It is also believed that Narad rishi, who also
did his penance here, is even now worshipping the supreme God with
Tourist attraction in Badrinath
- On the right bank of Alaknanda lies the sacred spot perched at an altitude
of 3,133 metres above the sea level. Encircled by a beautiful valley, the
15mtrs. High temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is built in the form of
a cone with a small cupola of gilt bull and spire. Built by Adi Guru
Shankaracharya - the philosopher-saint of the 8th century, the temple has
been renovated several times due to damage by avalanches. Its colourful
'Singh Dwara' or the main entrance gate gives it a new, modern look.
The temple divided into three parts - the 'garbha griba' or sanctum
sanctorum, the 'darshan mandap' where the rituals are conducted and the
'sabha mandap'where devotees assemble.The complex has 15 idols. Especially
attractive is the one metre high image of Badrinath, finely sculpted in
black stone. It represents Lord Vishnu seated in meditative pose.
Devotees take a holy dip in the natural thermal springs on the banks of the
river Alaknanda, before entering the Badrinath Temple. The water of the kund
is believed to have medicinal properties.
- A flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda where Hindus perform
propitiating rites for their deceased ancestors.
Pyramidical-shaped snowy peak towering above Badrinath, popularly known as
the 'Garhwal Queen'.
Mana Village (4 kms.)
- Inhabited by Indo-Mangolian tribe, it is
considered to be the last Indian village before Tibet on this route. Nearby
are Vyas Gufa- the rock cave of saint Ved Vyas, the writer of Mahabharata;
Bhim Pul- a natural bridge over the Saraswati river and Vasundhara Falls- a
122 mts. high waterfall- all forming and important part of the pilgrimage to
Mata Murti Temple (3 kms.)
- On the right bank of Alaknanda stands the temple
dedicated to the mother of Sri Badrinathji.
Alka Puri (15 kms.)
- The source of Alaknanda river from the glacier snouts of Bhagirath- Kharak
and Satopanth glaciers.
- The five important confluences- Deoprayag, Nandprayag, Rudraprayag,
Karnaprayag andVishuprayag, form the Panch Prayag.
The confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers. Ancient stone scriptures
are found here. Important pilgrim spots are Shiv Temple and Raghunath
:- The confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The temples of
Rudranath and Chamunda Devi are noteworthy.
The confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The Gopalji Temple is
worth a visit.
The confluence of Alaknanda and Pindar rivers with temples of Uma and Karna.
- The confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers. An ancient temple of
Lord Vishnu stands here by a pool called Vishnu Kund.
Lord Shiva manifested in the form of Jyotirlingam
or the cosmic light. Kedarnath is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. This
ancient and magnificient temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range. This
temple, over a thousand years old is built of massive stone slabs over a
large rectangular platform. Ascending through the large gray steps leading
to the holy sanctums we find inscriptions in Pali on the steps. The present
temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya.The inner walls of the temple sanctum
are adorned with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. The
origin of the revered temple can be found in the great epic - Mahabharata.
According to legends, the Pandavas sought the blessings of lord Shiva to
atone their sin after the battle of Mahabharata. Lord Shiva eluded them
repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull.
On being followed, he dived into ground leaving behind his hump on the
surface. Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as
guard. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord
Shiva in his Sadashiva form. The temple, believed to be very ancient, has
been continually renovated over the centuries. It is situated at an altitude
of 3,581 mt. It is a 14 km trek from Gaurikund.
At the approach of winters in the month of November, the holy statue of Lord
Shiva, is carried down from Kedarnath to Ukhimath, and is reinstated at
Kedarnath, in the first week of May. It is at this time, that the doors of
the temple are thrown open to pilgrims, who flock from all parts of India,
for a holy pilgrimage. The shrine closes on the first day of Kartik
(Oct-Nov) and reopens in Vaishakh (Apr-May) every year. During its closure
the shrine is submerged in snow and worship is performed at Ukhimath.
Tourist attraction in Kadarnath
- The present temple, built in 8th century A.D. by Adi Guru Shankaracharya
lies adjacent to the site of an ancient temple built by Pandavas. The walls
of the exquisitely architectured temple are embellished with figures of
deities and scenes from mythology. The temple has a conical lingam - the
main idol, a statue of Nandi - the celestial bull, a 'garbha grab' for
worship and a 'mandap' for assemblies of piligrims and visitors. The temple
is believed to be more than 1000 years old.
- Behind the Kedarnath Temple lies the samadhi or the final resting place of
Adi Guru Shankaracharya. It is believed, after establishing the four dhams
in India, he went for his samadhi at an early age of 32 years.
Chorabari (Gandhi Sarovar) (2 kms.)
A small lake from where Yudhishthir, the eldest of the Pandavas, is believed
to have departed to heaven. The floating ice on the sparkling waters of the
lake is a fascinating sight.
Vasuki Tal (6 kms.)
- A picturesque lake, 4,135 mts. above sea level is encircled by lofty
mountains and offers a commanding view of the Chaukhamba peaks.
Gaurikund (14 kms.)
- The trekking base to Kedarnath. A temple dedicated to Gauri and thermal
springs of medicinal value are noteworthy.
Sonprayag (20 kms.)
- The confluence of Son Ganga and Mandakini rivers. The road to
Triyuginarayan diverts from here.
of the holiest glaciers of Uttaranchal, the Gangotri Glacier has a special
significance in the history of India as well as the history of Hinduism.
Famous for being the source of the River Ganges, one of the most sacred
rivers of India, a tour to the Gangotri Glacier is considered to be one of
the important pilgrimages that a devout Hindu should undertake. A trekker’s
paradise, the Gangotri Glacier is one of the most important tourist
attractions of Uttaranchal and a definite must visit while on a tour to
Located in the Garhwal Himalayas,
in the district of Uttarkashi, the Gangotri Glacier is not a single valley
glacier but a combination of a number of glaciers, which are fed into the
main glacier and end up forming a huge chunk of ice.
These glaciers include Hrigupanth (6772m), Kirti stambh (6285), Sumeru
Parvat (6380) respectively and Ratavana Bamak, Chaturangi Bamak and Swachand
Bamak. Easily approachable, the Gangotri Glacier is known for its smooth
surface, which allows a smooth flow except in certain places where ice walls
and crevices have developed over the ages.
The route which leads to the
Gangotri Glacier is picturesque and culminates to reach the famous Gangotri
Temple, one of the most respected temples in Uttaranchal.
Tourist attractioin in Gangotri
Nandanvan Tapovan -
A tough trek alongside the Gangotri glacier takes
one to the beautiful Nandanvan. It is also the base camp for the Bhagirathi
peaks, and offers an excellent view of the surrounding Shivalik Peak. It
also leads to Tapovan which is known for the beautiful meadows that
surrounds the base of the Shivalik Peaks.
Uttarkashi is a very important pilgrimage centre, and is
located at an altitude of 1,150 metres above sea level. It is situated on
the bank of river Bhagirathi. A few of the very important temples located
here are, the Vishwanath temple, Ekadash Rudra temple, Gyaneshwar temple and
Kuteti Devi temple. The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering is also located
close-by. Every year people visit Uttarkashi to take a holy dip in the
Kedar Tal -
Kedar Tal is a beautiful lake that is located at 4,425
metres above sea level. The magnificient Thalaiyasagar peak is the backdrop
of the lake. It is accessible through a mountain trek, and it also acts as
the base for trekking into the surrounding areas. However, do remember that
the trek to Kedar Tal needs a local guide.
- Gaumukh is the source of the Bhagirathi River. Pilgrims
trek up on foot all the way to take a holy dip in the ice cold water.
Ponnies are also available for the trekking as well.
- Located at a height of 3,048 metres above sea level,
Dayara Bugyal is a beautiful meadow. A road connects Bhatwari with Raithal
village. From this village, Dayara Bugyal is about a 6 km. long trek. The
Sheshnag temple, located here is also a major attraction. It falls enroute
to Dayara. From Dayara, one can trek down towards Dodi Tal as well. Ski
slopes are provided at an area of 28 sq.kms. during the winters at Dayara
- A beautiful trek through some of the lush green
forests leads one to the Nachiketa Tal. The main attractions of the place
are the beautiful surroundings and the small temple lake.
The former capital of Tehri Garhwal Principality is also a
major attraction for the tourists. Tehri is also the site of a giant hydel
project - the Tehri Project.
- The present capital of the Tehri state, Narendranagar
offers some of the most pleasant view of the Ganga valley of Rishikesh and
even the plains of Haridwar.
- Situated 25 km from Gangotri, Harsil is a beautiful hill stations in the
Garhwal Himalayas. An off-the-beaten-track destination, it still is
unexplored by the tourists. Situated at an altitude of 2,620 mts above sea
level, the main attraction here is the Wilson Cottage built in 1864. Sat Tal
(Seven Lakes) near the village of Dharali is at a trek of 7 kms from Harsil.
- Situated 1,855 metres above sea level, Gangnani is famous for its hot
water springs called Gaurikund. Located en route to Uttarkashi, 53 km from
Gangotri, Gangnani also has a 15th-century temple.
The first stopover for the Char Dham Yatra is the westernmost shrine of
Yamunotri in the Garhwal Himalayas, which is Dedicated to Goddess Yamuna.
The shrine is perched atop a flank of the Bandar Poonchh peak (3235 mts.
above sea level) and is situated opposite to Gangotri. It constitutes one of
the four most important pilgrimages, collectively called 'Char Dham' of the
Garhwal Himalayas or Uttarakhand. Yamunotri is the source of the revered
river Yamuna which originates from the Champasar Glacier lying 1 km ahead of
the shrine, at an altitude of 4421 mts. Pilgrims do not frequently visit the
source of the river as it is not easily accessible. Yamunotri can also be
visited via Mussoorie and Barkot.
Yamunotri finds a special mention in the Hindu mythology. The legend says,
this lonesome hilly spot was the home of an ancient sage, Asit Muni. Among
the prime attractions of Yamunotri are hot water springs nearby, which is
believed to have medicinal properties. Devotees prepare rice and potatoes to
offer at the shrine, by dipping them in these hot water springs, tied in
muslin cloth. The trek to Yamunotri is spectacular, surrounded by a panorama
of rugged peaks and thick forests.
Tourist attraction in Yamunotri
Yamunotri Temple -
Built in the 19th
century by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur it is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna and
is perched atop the Bandar Poonchh peak. Many interesting legends are
related to this place. One of these says that anyone bathing in this river
is spared a painful death. The temple contains a silver idol of Yamuna,
decked with garlands along with an image of her brother, Yama.
- It is a striking and important thermal spring some kilometers from
Yamunotri devoted to the Sun God, the father of Yamuna. Temperature here is
higher than the surroundings. The water is so hot that it is used to cook
the Prasad. The Surya Kund is also famous for its curative properties.
- The Yamunotri temple is surrounded by thermal springs and the Divya Shila,
which literally means heavenly rock. It is a custom to worship this rock
before entering the Yamunotri temple.
Temple of Goddess Yamuna
- The temple was built by Maharani Gularia of
Jaipur in the 19th century. It was destroyed twice in the present century
and rebuilt again. The temple remains closed from November to May.
- Pass Kempty falls 75 kms. On the Mussoorie - Yammnotri
road lies Lakhamandal. Legend has is that the Kaurvas made a shelter house
and conspired to bum the Pandavas alive here.
- One of the important thermal springs known for its very
high temperature of 190 f. Pilgrims cook rice and potatoes here to offer to
deity in the temple.
- A huge rock pillar venerated before entering the
- The theral springs here offer a spectacular sight and a
refreshing bath for the pilgrims.
- The confluence of Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna river
forms the starting point for the scenic Dodi Tal trek. (Rishikesh - Barkot -
Hanumanchatti - Yamunotri - hanumanchatti - Darvatop - Dodital - Agora -
Uttarkashi - Rishikesh). Porters. Ponies and Palanquines are available for
the journey to Yamunotri. Their rates are fixed by District Magistrate
before the start of every Yatra season.
- A scenic spot along the bank of river yamuna that
makes a lovely sight enrouted the trek up to Yamunotri.
Dhanaulti , amidst thick forests of oak, deodar, pine and rhododendron, is a
perfect destination to retreat from the maddening crowds of big cities.
Nestled in Garhwal Himalayas, Dhanaulti is a treat to the soul that seeks
serenity and tranquility. Situated at an elevation of 2, 286 meters above
the sea level, Dhanaulti lies almost midway on Mussourie-Chamba route. It is
well connected by road from major cities like Delhi (325km) and Dehradun
(60km). Nearest railhead is at Dehradun while Jolly Grant (82km) is the
There is a lot that one can do in the pristine locale of Dhanaulti .
Dhanaulti is blessed with abundant natural wealth. It offers breathtaking
views of snow clad higher Himalayas.
Dhanaulti is not like any other commercialized hill station of India. It is
away from noise and crowd of usual hill destinations. There are a number of
beautiful fruit orchards in and around Dhanaulti that one can visit either
trekking or on horse back. Dhanaulti though, hasn’t got any high end hotels
and restaurants; one can be rest assured of a comfortable stay at some of
the rest houses like GMVN’s Tourist Bungalow and the Forest Rest House of
Uttarakhand Forest Department.
Winters in Dhanaulti are severe when the entire place is clothed in sheets
of snow. Heavy woolens are recommended for those visiting Dhanaulti during
winter months. In summers, temperatures can rise to about 31 degrees C while
drop to about 7 degrees C. Light woolens are recommended for those visiting
during this season of the year.
Tourist attraction in Dhanaulti
- Sarkunda Devi Temple is situated at a distance of
hardly 7 km from Dhanaulti town. For reaching the temple, one has to
undertake a trek of around 2 km, however the magnificent views one can see
from up there, makes the climb worth it.
Barehipani and Joranda Falls
- Barehipani and Joranda Falls are
counted amongst the most popular attractions of Dhanaulti. The height of the
former is around 400 m, while the latter comes cascading down from an
altitude of 150 m.
- Chanderi town, located on the hills, is known for having
excellent monuments based on Rajput and Sultanate architectural styles.
Amongst the most splendid monuments in Chanderi are Koshak Mahal, the Badal
mahal, Victory Arch, Jama Masjid and ancient Jain temples.
:- Dashavatar Temple, belonging to the time of the
Gupta Empire, is the earliest known Panchyatan temple in North India.
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple boasts of terraced basement, adorned
with skillfully sculpted panels. On the doorway of the sanctum sanctorum,
one finds the carvings of Ganga and Yamuna. The side-walls have 3 carved
panels depicting Vaishnava mythology.
- Deogarh Fort is one of the most popular edifices in
the area and dates back to the 16th century. The fort comprises of a number
of striking palaces, ornamented with frescoes, and impressive Jain temples.
- There are as many as 31 Jain temples situated inside
the Kanali fort, on the Dhanaulti Hills. The place served as a Jain center
from the 6th to the 17th century and this is when the temples were built.
The temples stands festooned with panels depicting scenes from Jain
mythology, Tirthankara images, votive pillars, votive tablets, Jain images
and pillars carved with a thousand Jain figures.
- Matatila Dam is a popular picnic spot situated amidst
Dhanaulti hills. The scenic views, lush gardens and water-sports options
serve as the major attractions of the dam.
-Pradhanpat hill is known for its exquisite beauty and a
gushing waterfall, which seems cascading down with all its force.
Haridwar - Gateway To Lord Vishnu
Haridwar, the name literally translates to the Gateway (Dwar) to Lord Vishnu
(Hari)! In other words, it can be said that Haridwar is the place from
where you can gain access to the Lord. Situated at the foot of the
Himalayas, the holy city is said to have entertained the Hindu Trinity,
Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, in the epic times. Adding to its sanctity is the
fact that it is from Haridwar that the holy Ganges enters the plains, giving
it the name of ‘Ganga-Dwara’ (Gateway of Ganga). Thousands of pilgrims
congregate at the city every year, to take a dip in the holy waters around
‘Har-ki-Paudi’ (a bathing ghat). With more than 300 temples within its
precincts, Haridwar is considered the best place to trace the roots of
Tourist attraction in Haridwar
Har ki Paudi -
The most popular as well as the most scared of all
the tourist attractions in Haridwar is the Har ki Paudi. It is basically a
bathing ghat that holds as much reverence for the devotees as the
Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi. As per the legends, ‘Har ki Paudi’, meaning
the Steps (Paudi) of Vishnu (Har), was once visited by Lord Vishnu and Lord
Shiva and even served as the venue of a yagna by Lord Brahma. Taking a dip
in the holy waters around the bathing ghat is one of the main reasons why
pilgrims come to the city.
Mansa Devi Temple -
A trip to Haridwar, without a visit to the Mansa
Devi temple, is totally incomplete. The temple, as the name suggests, is
dedicated to Mansa Devi - an incarnation of Goddess Durga. It is situated
atop the Bilwa hill. Health conscious people prefer to trek their way to the
temple, while the adventure enthusiasts can make use of the ropeway cable
Chandi Devi Temple -
Chandi Devi Temple dates back to the year 1929,
when it was built under the aegis of Suchat Singh, the King of Kashmir. It
is situated atop the Neel Parvat and enshrines the idol of Chandi Devi, the
Goddess who killed the demon brothers Shumbh-Nishumbh. Legends say that the
idol was enshrined there by Adi Shankracharya, in 8th century.
Sapt Rishi Ashram & Sapt Sarovar
- It is at this place that Ganges is believed to have divided itself into
seven small streams to not to disturb the Sapt (seven) Rishis meditating and
Bharat Mata Temple -
The most unique and unusual temple of Haridwar is
the ‘Bharat Mata Temple’. It is totally different from the typical Hindu
temples and is dedicated, not to various Gods and Goddesses, but those
people who have influenced the country in one way or the other. Each of the
eight stories in the temple is dedicated to a different group, like
spiritual leaders, freedom fighters, etc.
Pawan Dham Temple -
Situated at a distance of around 2 km from the
heart of Haridwar is the Pawan Dham Temple. Dating back to the ancient
times, the magnificent temple stands ornamented with intricate glasswork on
its walls. The extensively festooned idols of the temple also make it worth
paying a visit.
Maya Devi Temple -
Another temple in Haridwar that is dedicated to a
goddess is the Maya Devi Temple. It enshrines the image of Goddess, as an
incarnation of Power or Shakti. One of the major attractions of the temple
is that it forms one of the Shaktipeeths in India. Along with that, Maya
Devi Temple is believed to be the place that became the recipient of the
heart & navel of Sati (wife of Lord Shiva).
Vaishno Devi Temple -
Vaishno Devi Temple is amongst those temples in
Haridwar that do not have an ancient lineage and were built sometime back
only. The major attraction of the temple arises from the fact that its
design is majorly based on the Vaishno Devi Temple of Jammu.
This is the holy place where the wife of Lord Shiva, Mata Sati is believed
to have done the ritual of self-immolation. The ghat here is thus famous
today as Sati Kund.
Ganga Aarti in Har-ki Paur in Haridwar
Haridwar, is one of the most religious town in Uttaranchal and it is this
very holy town that hosts the famous 'Maha Aarti', every evening. The most
pious ghats of Ganges in Uttaranchal is Harki Pauri, an important bathing
ghat. This also the venue of the famous Kumbh Mela, that is held once in
twelve years. During this festival an estimated 45 million people converge
here to bathe in the sacred waters of the Ganges as part of a purification
ritual .This scared ghat was constructed in the 1st century BC and has webs of
legends associated with it. The most important is the one that claims that a
person who takes dips here, is freed of all his previous life and gets
moksha (Nirvana). The doted temples, shops hawking religious blings and the
various clay pots floating on the rivers completes the spiritual picture of
Rajaji National Park / Chila Wildlife Sanctuary
The Rajaji National Park, spread over an area of 240 sq km, houses the Chila
wildlife Sanctuary and is situated at a distance of 10 km from Haridwar.
Situated on the banks of River Ganges, the sanctuary is a haven for a large
number of animals. This biodiversity park boasts of nearly 23 mammals and
about 315 fauna species. The river in the park houses large number of fishes
and fauna in the water. At Chila you can have the pleasure of spotting
leopard, tigers, jungle cat, herd of elephants, wild boar, stags, spotted
deer, sloth bear, langur, monkeys, woodpecker, king cobra etc. During the
monsoons the park remains closed and otherwise it is open after sunrise and
closed after dusk.
Mussoorie is one of
the most beautiful hill stations not only in Uttarakhand, but the whole of
India. It is named after Mansoor, a shrub which is indigenous to this area.
Popularly known as the 'Queen of hills' in India, the place seems like a
'virtual paradise' on earth. Lush green forests and lofty mountains adorn
the scenic town. With a panoramic view of snow-capped mountain ranges in the
north-east, and sparkling views of the Doon Valley and Shivalik ranges in
the south, the hill resort offers its visitors real scenic delights.
Mussoorie was discovered in 1827, by Captain Young, an adventurous British
military officer, along with Mr. Shore, the resident Superintendent of
Revenues at Dehradun. They were captivated by this extraordinarily beautiful
place and jointly constructed a shooting ridge here. Today, Mussoorie has
become one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. The salubrious
weather of the town is a pleasant change from the heat, humidity and dust of
the plains. Mussoorie also acts as the gateway to the holy shrines of
“Gangotri” and “Yamunotri”.
With cascading waterfalls, lush green forests, mystic Himalayas, grassy
slopes and awe-inspiring valleys, Mussoorie offers its visitor the real
experience of being in the lap of nature. The city's raw and unhampered
beauty has a majestic aura about it. It seems as if nature has blessed this
city with everything required for becoming a visitor's paradise. A summer
tour to Mussoorie will indeed be an enchanting experience for any tourist.
The tourism sector of Mussoorie is well developed. Food, lodging and
transportation are available in accordance with all kinds of budgets. The
city also offers tourists spots for all kinds of tourists. From Children's
lodge to ancient temples and parks to vantage points, Mussoorie has it all.
Other than the local market and attractions, you can also look around
Mussoorie for some wonderful excursions, like Chamba and Kanatal.
Attractions in Mussoorie
Gun Hill -
The second highest peak in Mussoorie, the Gun Hill, offers panoramic views
of Mussoorie town, the enchanting Doon valley, and the Bunderpunch,
Srikantha, Pithwara and Gangotri group of the Himalaya Mountains. You can
either reach this palce through a 30-minute uphill walk or opt for the
Kempty Falls -
The Kempty Falls, located about 15 km from Mussoorie, is one of the main
tourist attractions in Mussoorie. The biggest waterfall in the region,
Kempty is nestled amidst a cluster of cliffs. Here water cascades down from
a height of 4,500 ft, hitting rocks on its way, and splitting further into
Municipal Garden -
This is a beautiful picnic spot, located at almost a 2 km walk from
Mussoorie, via Waverly Convent Road. Formerly known as Botanical Gardens,
this beautiful garden is adjoined by a lake for boating.
Named because of the life-size
rock here which resembles a camel, Camel’s Back Point can be viewed from the
Mussoorie Public school.
Nag Devta Temple -
About 7 km from Mussoorie,
this is an ancient temple on the Cart Mackenzie Road. It also offers a
pleasant view of the Doon Valley and Mussoorie.
Jwalaji Temple (Elenog Hill) - About 9 km from
Mussoorie, this temple is on top of the Benog Hill. Another excellent
viewpoint, the temple is surrounded by thick forests. You can do the first 7
km by road, but the remaining 2 km have to be covered on foot.
Childer's Lodge -
Take a horse to the highest peak of Mussoorie near Lal Tibba. Only
about 5 km from Mussoorie, you could even take a leisurely walk up to the
top. The breath-taking view from up here is worth the climb.
Mussoorie Lake -
This is a beautiful picnic spot developed by the Mussoorie Dehradun
Development Authority on the Dehradun-Mussoorie Road. Lying at about 6 km
from Mussoorie, this lake is very popular among the tourist attractions in
Mussoorie, and peddled boats are available here to explore the lake.
Mussoore Weather -
Mussoorie is known for its healthy and pleasant weather. This attractive
hill station has always been tourists most favored destination away from the
heat of the plains. Situated at an altitude of approximately 7,000 feet
above the sea level, it abounds in natural beauty and scenic splendor. The
ideal period for visiting Mussoorie is either between April and May or
between September and November, when the temperature is extremely pleasant
and the lush green flora has covered the hill top completely. Let us get
some information on the weather and climate of Mussoorie.
Nainital is one of the most beautiful places in Uttarakhand. It finds mention in several ancient texts such as ‘Manas Khand’
of Skandapurana. Then there is legend of Ma Sati’s charred eye falling here
to form the Naini Lake, its name taken form the Hindi word Naina which means
Kumaon & Garhwal areas were occupied by the British in 1815. Afterwards,E
Gardiner was appointed the commissioner of Kumaun Division in 1815. Mr. G.W.
Traill, the second commissioner of Kumaun, was the first European to visit
Later, in the year 1839 a British businessman Mr. P Barron (a sugar trader)
and his friend, an avid hunter, strayed into the hills while hunting. They
got lost and in the process spotted this wonderful place.
Barron was so captivated by the place that he left the sugar business and
built a European Colony on shores of the Naini Lake. In the year 1841, the
discovery of Nainital appeared in an issue of the 'Englishman Calcutta'. The
offices gradually started to shift here and a formal Nainital Municipal
Corporation was formed in 1850 to provide basic facilities to the residents.
To catalyze the development of a township, the government reassigned land in
Nainital to the affluent Sah community of Almora, on the clause that they
would construct only accommodations on the land. In 1862, Nainital
officially became the ‘Summer Seat’ of the North-Western Provinces. After
that the development progressed at rapid speed. Many residential schools and
colleges were established to provide education to the people.
In an extreme reversal of fortune, a massive landslide on 18th September
1880 caused by continuous rain washed away the Victoria Hotel. About 151
people were killed under the hotel’s debris. Though the military was called
in for help, people could not be saved. After this incident, the area was
flattened and leveled for parking.
Tourist Attraction in Nainital
- According to the Hindu mythology, the deep green Naini lake is one of the
emerald green eyes of Parvati, Shiva’s wife. It is said that the modern
Naina Devi Temple at the northern end of the lake is the exact spot where
her eye is said to have fallen, after Vishnu chopped up her body and
scattered it all over the countryside to stop Shiva’s cosmic dance of
destruction. The kidney shaped Naini lake with its clear water is the center
of the town. The rowing and paddle boats for boating
available at the Naini lake.
- Naina Peak is the highest peak and the most popular
picnic spot in Nainital. This peak is situated at a height of 2610 meters,
about 5.5 kms. from Nainital. This peak offers a captivating view of the
snow–clad Himalayan ranges and the bird's eye view of Nainital on a clear
day. It is also one of the most beautiful treks with soft cool air, shades
of tall trees, songs of birds and the quaint summerhouse. One can either
trek or go on horse back.
Kilbury is situated at a height of 2528 meters and about 11 kms from the
town. It an ideal place for bird watchers, nature lovers, quiet weekend
holiday and picnic. Kilbury is part of a forest reserve and is rich in flora
and bird life.
- Hanuman Garh is situated at a height of 1951 meters
above and 3.22 kms. from Nainital. It is a place of religious interest, and
also famous for spectacular view of the sunset. There is a small temple of
the Lord Hanuman, the monkey god at Hanuman Garh.
- Snow View is a scenic spot and offers a panoramic view of
the Himalayan ranges. The Snow View Peak, at a height of 2270 meters is a
popular vantage point in Nainital, accessible by a ropeway, horse and on
foot. Its like a thrill for kids and adults for the ropeway ride from Aerial
Express to Snow View.
High Altitude Zoo
- The High Altitude Zoo is perched at an altitude
of 2075 meters and about 1.5 kms. away from the Bus Station. The zoo houses
a variety of species of animals living at higher altitudes and birds. Some
of the endangered species of animals are the Siberian tiger, serow, leopard
and Himalayan black deer. It is very important for researchers and
- Khurpatal is situated about 10 kms. from Nainital on Nainital – Ramnagar
road. The Khurpatal lake is a heaven for anglers, and is inhabited by a
number of fishes.
- The Land's End is situated at a height of about 2218 meters and 4.08 kms.
trek from Nainital. The name Land's End suggests and one also feels that the
end of the land has really come. This hill offers a panoramic view of
Khurpatal, terraced fields, neighboring hills and valley. It is accessible
by horse also.
- State Observatory is situated at a height of 1951 meters, and 4.4 kms.
from Nainital. The State Observatory undertakes astronomical studies and
optical tracking of artificial earth satellites.
- This beautiful picnic spot is located just 12km. ahead of Nainital at a
height of 2528 metres. It is famous for its flora and fauna and bird
watching. The place offers breath taking views of the great Himalayas along
with a view of Tarai and Bhabhar.
Excursion from Nainital
The Naukuchiatal is the nine-cornered lake and the
deepest lake in the area. Naukuchiatal is a quiet hideway filled with
birdsong and peace. This misty blue lake is cradled by green mountains and
fed by an underwater spring, which keeps its waters high. This lake has
religious significance and situated about 4 kms. from Bhimtal and 26 kms.
from Nainital. This lake also harbours the biggest mahaseer fish. On the
occasion of Ganga Dussehra, various people gather here. It is believed that
one attains Nirvana if he manages to see all its nine corners. A huge statue
of Hanuman, within the Mata Vaishno Devi Temple, is right at the entrance to
The Sattal is a group of seven small inter–connected lakes, set against a
backdrop of oak and pine trees beyond which tower the Himalayas in Nainital.
The Sattal is situated at a distance of 23 kms. from Nainital and 12 kms.
from Bhimtal. The Sattal lake is the most picturesque lake in the Kumaon
region hills. The most important is the jade green Garud Tal, followed by
the olive green Rama Tal, Sita Tal. This place is ideal for a secluded
holiday, peaceful mountain scenery and quiet walks into the hills and
resorts. It is surrounded by a cover of thick forests. The holiday in Sattal
can be combined with a grand taste of wildlife and adventure. Trekking
through the forests and mountains, mountain biking, rock climbing,
rappelling, river crossing, swimming, boating, kayaking and fishing are the
various adventurous activities which can be undertaken here.
- Bhowali is situated at a height of 1706 meters on the
Ranikhet–Almora road. Bhowali is situated about 11 kms. from Nainital.
Bhowali is a small town known for its Himalayan views and its scenic
grandeur. Bhowali is also a beautiful health resort. The T.B. Sanatorium,
named after King Edward is situated here. This sanatorium has treated
luminaries like Subhash Chandra Bose and Kamala Nehru, wife of Pt.
Jawaharlal Nehru. Bhowali is a major export centre for fruits like Apples,
Apricot, Plums, Pears and Peaches etc. Only 3 km from Bhowali is Ghorakhal,
famous for the temple of Lord Golla, the God of Justice and Sainik School. A
beautiful mosque with a hilly architecture is located nearby. Bhowali can be
visited round the year.
- The tiny hilltop village of Jeolikot was founded by Sri
Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda. Jeolikot is known as a health centre. It is
also famous for its butterflies, honey mushrooms and fruits, including
strawberries and leechies, it produces. The hills encasing Jeolikot are
sprinkled with shrines and colonial structures. A tiny bunglow, once the
home of a direct descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte and the house of Warwick
Sahib, a retired major of the British army are some of the famous colonial
buildings in the Jeolikot.
- Ramgarh is situated at an altitude of 1789 meters on
Bhowali – Mukteshwar raod. Ramgarh is situated about 25 kms. from Nainital
and 14 kms. from Bhowali. Ramnagar is situated on the banks of the Kosi
river and was set up by Commissioner H. Ramsay (1856 – 1884). Ramgarh would
have been known as a culture capital rather than a hotbed of horticulture,
if Rabindranath Tagore had stuck to his original plan of setting up a centre
of learning here. He was not only spell bounded by the orchards, forest
hillsides, babbling brooks and views of snow-clad Himalayas. But, he also
eventually gifted Shantiniketan to his home state, West Bengal. The famous
poets Rabindranath Tagore and Mahadevi Verma have praised the serenity of
this place and composed their poems ‘Geetanjali’ and ‘Sandhya Geet’ here.
Ramgarh is known for a variety of Himalayan fruits and the spectacular views
of the Himalayan ranges. It is also a horticultural heaven, the fruit bowl
of Kumaon. Ramgarh also houses a fruit-processing factory run by the
Government. In Ramnagar, one can visit the archaeological ruins of Dhikuli,
the Garjia Devi temple and Sitabani. The Garjia temple is built on a huge
rock in the midst of Kosi river and named after the deity Garjia Devi. The
ruins of Kotabagh are situated about 10 kms. from Rangarh, which date back
to the Chand rulers. Ramgarh can be visited round the year.
Bhimtal is situated about 22 kms. from Nainital and blessed with a pristine
aura. Bhimtal is one of the largest lakes in Kumaon and gets its name from
the mighty Bhima, one of the five Pandava brothers in Mahabharata. Bhimtal
has emerged as a favourite tourist destination and facilities like boating,
fishing, sailing, rowing, exploring the surrounding forests and apricot and
peach orchards are available for the tourists. A restaurant at the centre of
the lake offers.
Pithoragarh is a city located in Uttarakhand. It was created out of the
Almora district in the year 1962. It is a small town which lies to the
centre of the western hall of the Soar Valley. Pithoragarh is so beautiful
that it even seems to resemble the Kashmir valley on a miniature scale. It
is very pretty and scattered with villages.
The view that the town provides is unmatched with the peaks of Panch Chulhi,
Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot clearly visible from high spots in the town.
Pithoragarh is located in a valley that is known as the "Soar" and lies in
the centre of four hills - namely, Chandak, Dhwaj, Kumdar and Thal Kedar. It
stretches in the southern side to Jhulaghat and to the adjoining Nepal
hills. The town of Pithoragarh is also known as the gateway to the
Back in the year 1364, after Pithoragarh was conquered by the Rajwar of Ukko
Bharatpal, it was for the rest of the 14th century, ruled by three
generations from the Pal dynasty. The kingdom extended right from
Pithoragarh to Askot. According to legends, Bhartichand, who was an ancestor
of Gyan Chand had replaced Pala who was the ruler of Pithoragarh, after
defeating them in the year 1445.
Subsequently, in the 16th century, the Chand dynasty took control over
Pithoragarh town and built a new fort. After the area came under the British
rule, Pithoragarh remained a Tehsil under Almora district until it was given
the title of district in the year 1962.
Pithoragarh derives its name from the traditions of the Rajputs, to name the
places they arrived at. It was also the capital of Prithvi Raj Chauhan, also
known as Rai Pithora.
Tourist attraction in Pithoragarh
Pithoragarh sightseeing includes visiting the different places of tourist
attractions, located in and around Pithoragarh. The various tourist
attractions of Pithoragarh include the following:
- Munsyari acts as the base camp for treks to Milam, Ralam
and Namik Glacier, while Dharachula is the base camp for Kailas Mansarovar
Yatra, Adi Kailash Yatra and Narayan Swami Ashram. It stands at an altitude
of 2,135 metres above sea level and the entire region is known as Johar
Valley. Situated around Munsyari are apline lakes of Maheshwari Kund and
- The Pithoragarh fort is located on top of a hill
on the outskirts of Pithoragarh. It was built by the Gorkhas back in the
- The Kapileshwar Mahadev cave is located about 3
kms. from Pithoragarh. The cave temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it
provides a beautiful view of the Soar valley and the Himalayan peaks.
- Dhwaj temple is a very famous shrine that is dedicated
to Lord Shiva and Maa Jayanti and is about 10 kms by road and 4 kms on foot
from Pithoragarh. It also provides a breathtaking view of the snow capped
peaks that surround it.
- Situated about 10 kms. from Pithoragarh is
Nakuleshwara. Legends have it that the Nakuleshwara temple was built by
Nakul and Sahdev (two brothers of Pandavas). The place is located at Athgaon
- This beautiful sanctuary which is located about 54
kms from Pithoragarh nestles at a height of 5412 feet above sea level. It is
very popular among wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. It is a haven for
snow leopards, Himalayan black bears, musk deers, snow cocks, tahra, bharals,
chirs, koklas, pheasants and chukors. The lush sanctuary area dotted with
temples is also a fine place to view the beauty of the Himalayas.
- The small hill town of Chaukori provides a great weather
and majestic views of snow capped peaks. The entire area is filled with tea
gardens and orchards. It is located about 112 kms from Pithoragarh.
- The sacred site is famous for the Hatkalika Fair held on
the ashtami of Chaitra month at the Kalika temple. Devotees visit the shrine
during this time with drums and flags to pay homage to Goddess Kalika.
- This small town on the Indo-Nepal border is named after a
hanging bridge on the Kali River. One can enter Nepal through this bridge.
The small market here deals in Nepali goods and other electronic items.
- The ashram was established by Narayan Swami in 1936,
about 136 kms north of Pithoragarh and 14 kms from Tawaghat. This spiritual
cum socio educational centre is set at an altitude of 2734 metres amidst
scenic surroundings. It has a school for local children and imparts training
to local youth. There is also a library, meditation room and samadhi sthal.
- Patal Bhubaneshwar, which literally means the
sub-terranian shrine of Lord Shiva is a cave temple located about 91 kms.
from Pithoragarh and 14 kms north of Gangolihat. The way to the temple is
through a tunnel which leads into a cave and through a narrow dark passage
The main passage also leads to several small caves where the water oozing
from limestone rocks has created various shapes arid figures. Some of them
resemble various Gods and Goddesses of Hindu mythology. In fact, the cave
temple complex is said to be the abode of thousands of deities and people
believe that these deities were dedicated by Adi Shankracharya. Large number
of pilgrims visits the shrine during the fair of Maha Shivratri every year.
Rishikesh is a scenic town located on the banks of river Ganga and is an
important access point to the famous pilgrim spots of the Himalayas such as
Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The various spiritual centers,
yogic ashrams located here have earned this town the sobriquet “world
capital of yoga”. The international tourists also drop in here in large
numbers seeking spiritual enlightenment and also to enjoy the natural
treasures of this place. The major highlights of this town are Lakshman
Jhula, Bharat Mandir, Triveni Ghat, Rishikund, Geeta Bhawan, Swarga Ashram
and Trayambakeshwar Temple. Prior knowledge about Rishikesh will be of
immense help to the tourists for a satisfying tour to Rishikesh.
Touristplacesinindia.com is the site providing helpful inputs about
Rishikesh including fast facts, history and the ideal time to visit.
Tourist attractioin in Rishikesh
Lakshman Jhula -
It is one of the most prominent landmarks at
Rishikesh. This is a suspended bridge and was built in the year 1929.
According to the beliefs, the river at this place is said to have been
crossed by Rama’s brother Lakshman using a jute rope. To savor the panoramic
views of the surroundings and the cool breeze, this bridge is an ideal spot.
- Ram Jhula is another bridge in Rishikesh, made
of iron, which looks quite similar in appearance to the Lakshman Jhula. It
is also known by the name of Shivanand Jhula and has been constructed to
pave way between Shivanand Ashram and Swarg Ashram.
Bharat Mandir -
It is an engrossing temple established by Adiguru Shankaracharya
near in the 8th century AD. It is in the center of the old town on the Banks
of the River Ganges. According to the ancient records, it is one of the
oldest temples of Rishikesh and is among the most important places to visit
in Rishikesh. In the inner sanctum, you will find an idol of lord Vishnu.
Several old statues, coins, pots and other artifacts of historical
importance have been found during recent excavations within the premises.
Geeta Bhawan -
Rishikund - It is located adjacent to Triveni Ghat and is one of the
most significant among the tourist attractions in Rishikesh. According to
the legend, this pond was saturated by Goddess Yamuna and it mirrors the
temple of Ragunath, which is devoted to lord Rama and his wife.
There are a few more tourist attractions in Rishikesh, which lie a little
away from the town, like: Narendernagar, Yamunotri, Gangotri etc.
This is the oldest temple complex in the entire area and you can
find the description of well-known Indian epic Ramayana and Mahabharata on
its walls. Only peace and harmony seem to dwell at this place and it is must
visit among the tourist attractions in Rishikesh.
- Situated on the outskirts of Rishikesh, around
12 km away, is a revered temple, known as ‘Nilkanth Mahadeo’. Perched on top
of a hill, at a height of around 1675 m, the temple is dedicated to Lord
Shiva. Legends say that the venom that oozed out while the ‘Samudra Manthan’
was ingested by Lord Shiva at the place which is now known as the Nilkanth
White Water Rafting
- Apart from pilgrims, adventure enthusiasts form
the largest group of visitors to Rishikesh. Serving as a major attraction
for them are the violent rivers passing around the town. These aggressive
streams present the perfect opportunity for them, to go rafting down the
waters. The breathtaking scenery that surrounds the rivers only adds to
The ashrams strewn all over the town are indisputably the leading tourist
attractions in Rishikesh. On your tour to Rishikesh, you will come across
lots of them. Most of them impart spiritual studies and lessons on
meditation and well-being of the mind. Some of the leading ones are
Paremarth Niketan, Sivanand Ashram, Yoga Niketan, Omkaranand Ashram,
Vanprastha Ashram, Shankaracharya Nagar Transcendental Meditation Centre,
Vithal Ashram and Yoga Study Centre.
Find useful travel information regarding Rishikesh tourist attractions on
the site touristplacesinindia.com that also offers valuable inputs on the
other places of tourist interest in India.
- One of the most renowned temple complex and ashram in the area . Known for
its substantial work on Hinduism, three is a school run on traditional
Indian Patterns. The ashram organizes excellent Ganga Arti and Hawan on the
Parmarth Ghat every evening
This is the main ghat of Rishikesh, where most of the pilgrims take their
holy dip. Every day in the evening a large number of pilgrims attend the
Ganga Arti at the Ghat.
Yoga and Meditation centers -
Described by the ancient Indian scriptures as the communion of the
individual soul (Jivatma) the Universal soul or God (Parmatma) Yoga the
ancient Indian discipline is highly relevant to the modern day context.
Today, as we enter the 21st Century, the outside world is becoming more
restless and life is full of strive and tensions. Yoga provides the perfect
Ranikhet is the place which
wonderfully mirrors best of the heavenly Himalayas; their lush green forest,
magestic mountains delicate plant life and attractive plant life. To view
nature and its elements in full harmony the right place is to be is Ranikhet.
According to the popular belief this place had won the heart of Rani Padmini,
queen of Raja Sudhardev. She chose this scenic to be her adobe and since
than it has come to be known as Ranikhet, literally QUEENS Feild. At an
altitude of 1829 mtrs above sea level, this hill resort is undoubtedly a
The hill station is 58 kilometres north of Nainital, and the reason you
should come here is because it’s wonderfully peaceful. The kind of place
that makes you want to wrap a shawl around yourself, put on a pair of
comfortable shoes and simply watch the place go by. It’s great walking
country. There are silken roads (near the army base), meadows with pine
trees, dappled wildflowers and frequent views of the majestic snow-capped
Himalayas, including the Nanda Devi peak.
Tourist Attraction in Ranikhet
This temple is attached to the Narsingh Maidan. This ancient temple has been
built by the Kumaon regiment. Opposite is a Gurudwara and a Shawal factory.
- Majkhali is another Tourist Attraction in Ranikhet.
Located just 13 kms from Ranikhet, Majkhali is set at a height of 26,500
feet. It is famous for enchanting views of the Himalayas.
- Located just 19 kms from Ranikhet is the religious
attraction called Binsar Mahadev. Surrounded by thick deodar forests, Binsar
Mahadev is set at an altitude of 2480 meters. In the temple, you will see
idol of Maheshmardini, Ganesh and Har Gauri. Eevery year an important fair
is held here on the occasion of Baikunth Chaturdashi.
- Counted as one of the most popular Tourist Attractions in
Ranikhet, Chaubatia is a home to many fruit orchards, gardens and the
Government fruit Research Center. Chaubatia is famous for its enchanting
views of Himalayas, Trishul, Nandaghunti, Nanda Devi and Nilkanth peaks.
Jhoola Devi Temple
- Dedicated to Goddess Durga, Jhoola Devi Temple
is just 7 kms from Ranikhet. This temple is famous for a cluster of bells
that can be heard even from far off in Ranikhet. It lies in the vicinity of
a temple dedicated to Lord Rama.
Sitlakhet - Sitlakhet is a
scenic spot commanding a view of magestic Himalayas. The near by forest
abounds in fruit orchards and herbal plants used in medicienes.Just about 10
kms from Sitlakhet is the famous temple of Syahi Devi. Nearby is the natural
spring where the first water scheme for Almora initiated some seventy years
ago. Just two kilometers below Sitlakhet is the village Khoont' which is the
ancestral village of the late Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, the famous freedom
fighter of India.
- Chaubatiya gardens are famous for their sprawling orchards of delicious
apples, plums, peaches and apricots. It is result of the pioneering efforts
of a British settler 150 years ago. The garden has a sale counter which you
can buy fresh apple juice.
- Situated between Ranikhet and Almora this picturesque
place not only affords a wide view of the Himalayan peaks but is also full
of fruit orchards. Scouting camps are frequently held here and there is a
beautiful temple of Syahi Devi around 3 KMs away on a lovely mountainous
trail. The birth place of the first chief minister of the province of Uttar
Pradesh, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant is a place called Khunt situated nearby.
Some years back a centenary memorial has been built at this place to
commemorate the memory of this great son of the soil.
- Jageshwer: 3 hours from Ranikhet, Jageshwer one of the
most important religious places of Hindus in Kumaun and is believed to be
the abode of the one of the twelve 'Jyotirlingas'. It is even mentioned in
the great epic of 'Mahabharata'. The great temple complex is situated in a
narrow and beautiful valley covered with Cedar trees. Two streams Nandini
and Surabhi flow down the hills and meet near the sacred spot. Dense grove
of Cedar trees, perpetual verdure, and sweet murmur of the riverlets give a
peculiar charm and sanctity to this place. Their are 124 temples and
hundreds of magnificent statues of exquisite craftsmanship. The oldest
shrine is of the 'Mrityunjaya' and the biggest shrine is of the
'Dindeshwara'. During the monsoons their is huge fair held every year at
Excursion in Ranikhet
Kausani, situated around 50 KMs from Ranikhet, is famous for it's
breathtakingly close view of the Himalayan Peaks and it's solitudes and
greenery. The wide expanse of the famous Katyur Valley lies in front of it
as you wake up to experience the Kausani sunrise. Kausani's beauty arrested
the feet of even Mahatama Gandhi, who stayed for some time at this place.
The memory that brief stay of that great man lingers behind in the Anasakti
Ashrama. Another great man of India the famous Hindi poet Sumitra Nandan
Pant was born here. There is small museum to earmark that sacred spot. The
famous folk singer Gopidas was also inspired by the beauty of Kausani.
Pinnath (10KMs), Bura Pinnath (5KMs) and Bhakot are the highest points near
Situated at a distance of 54 kms from Ranikhet, Chaukhutia is a hub of
ancient forts and ruins of Katyuri dynasty. Visit the famous Kali and
Vaishno Temple at Chaukhutia. The place is called Chaukhutia meaning four
legs, as there are four ways leading out from it.
Uttaranchal Fairs & Festivals
The fairs and folk
festivals of Uttaranchal are very colourful and distinctive, and are the
blend of various natural, social and cultural factors. The people of
Uttaranchal also celebrate all the major Indian festivals. Basant Panchami,
Bhitauli, Harela, Phooldei, Batsavitri, Ganga Dusshera, Dikar Puja, Olgi or
Ghee Sankranti, Khatarua, Ghuian Ekadashi and Ghughutia are some of the
major festivals of Uttaranchal.
The daily lives of
Uttaranchali women are crowded with a never-ending succession of festivals,
most of them involving fasts and the preparation of special foods
Explore more about
the folk festivals of Uttaranchal-
Makar Sankranti (Ghughutia)
- According to the Hindu religious
texts, on the day of Uttarayani, the sun enters the Zodiacal sign of 'Makar'
(Capricon) from the Zodiacal sign of the Kark (Cancer), i.e. from this day
onwards the sun becomes 'Uttarayan' or it starts moving to the north. It is
said that from this day, which signals a change of season, the migratory
birds start returning to the hills. On Makar Sankranti people give Khichadi
(a mixture of pulses and rice) in charity, take ceremonial dips in holy
rivers, participate in the Uttarayani fairs and celebrate the festival of
Ghughutia or Kale Kauva.
- The festival of Basant Panchami
celebrates the coming of the spring season. This festival, which also
signals the end of winter, is generally celebrated during Magh (January -
February). During this festival people worship the Goddess Saraswati, use
yellow handkerchiefs or even yellow cloths and in a few places people put a
yellow tilak on their foreheads.
- Phool Dei is celebrated on the first day of
the month of Chaitra in mid March and on this day young girls conduct most
of the ceremonies. In some places this festival is celebrated throughout the
month with the advent of spring.
- On the first day of the
navaratris (nine day holy period) of the month of Chaitra women fill baskets
with soil and sow seven types of grains in them. The grains germinate
symbolizing the future harvest. These yellow leaves, called Harela, are cut
on the tenth day and people put them on their heads and behind their ears.
During the month of Chaitra (March-April) brothers send presents to their
sisters. These presents are called Bhitauli.
Olgia or Ghee
:- Olgia is celebrated on the
first day of Bhado (middle of August), when the harvest is lush and green,
vegetables are in abundance and the milch animals very productive. In
ancient times sons-in-law and nephews would give presents to fathers-in-law
and maternal uncles, respectively, in order to celebrate Olgia.
- The three week long
Nandadevi Rajjaat is one of the world famous festival of Uttaranchal. People
from entire Garhwal-Kumaon as well as other parts of India and the world
participate in Nandadevi Rajjaat Yatra.
Goddess Nanda Devi
is worshipped at dozens of places in Kumaon, but the region around Mt. Nanda
Devi and its sanctuary, which falls in the districts of Pithoragarh, Almora
and Chamoli, is the prime area related to Nanda Devi. In Chamoli Nanda Devi
Rajjaat is organized once in 12 years. The jaat starts from Nauti village
near Karnprayag and goes upto the heights of Roopkund and Haemkund with a
four horned sheep.
- The Hilljatra, which is being celebrated in
some parts of Pithoragarh district, is essentially the festival of
pastoralists and agriculturalists. In the developmental process, the aathon
(eighth day of bhado) and Gawra Visarjan also became the part of Hilljatra.
The festival, which basically came to the Sor valley from the Sorar
(Mahakali) region of West Nepal, was first introduced in Kumaour village.
The Jatra was also accepted by the people of Bajethi, another village near
Pithoragarh town and with some modifications it was introduced in
Kanalichhina and Askot regions as Hiran chital.
- In the Chaudans region of Pithoragarh
district, a flower - Kandali (Strobilenthes wallichii) - blooms once every
12 years (last in 1999) and the people celebrate Kandali festival between
the months of August and October. The Chaundas Valley is remote in the
Dharchula tehsil of Pithoragarh. It lies between the Kali and the Dhauli
rivers. In the week long festival the local people - Shaukas or the Rangs
participate with gaiety and enthusiasm in different villages of the region.
Some stories are associate with this festival, which express the martial
tradition of the Shaukas. In the first story, it is said that by tasting the
poisonous flower of the Kandali the only son of a widow died. In the second
story, this flower the symbol of famine and poverty. According to the third
and most popul< story, the region was once attacked while the menfolk were
away for trade. Th brave women repelled the enemy, who hid in the Kandali
bushes, and the attacked the bushes and destroyed the enemy. The festival
commemorates thei bravery and the women therefore destroy the plant
ceremonially to remind th local people of the incident and to prevent
Khari Holi and
- The uniqueness of the
Kumaoni Holi lies in its being a musical affair, whichever may be its form,
be it the Baithki Holi, the Khari Holi or the Mahila Holi. The Baithki Holi
and Khari Holi are unique in that the songs on which they are based have
touch of melody, fun and spiritualism. These songs are essentially based on
classical ragas. No wonder then the Baithki Holi is also known as Nirvan Ki
Holi. The Baithki Holi begins from the premises of temples, where Holiyars
(the professional singers of Holi songs) as also the people gather to sing
songs to the accompaniment of classical music.
- Khatarua is essentially the special festival of pastoral- agricultural
society and celebrated on the first day of the month of Ashwin in mid
September, and signifies the beginning of the autumn. On this day people
light bonfires, around which children dance, holding aloft colourful flags.
People take special care of their animals and feed them fresh grass.
Cucumbers are offered to the fire of Khatarua, which is said to destroy all
evil influences. The victory of the king of Kumaon is also said to be one of
the reasons for the celebration of Khatarua.
Ganga Dusshera or
- Ganga Dusshera is celebrated on
the Shukla dasami of the Jyestha (May - June). The sacred Ganga is
worshipped on this day and Dusshera posters (dwarpatras or dasars), which
have various geometric designs on them, are put up on the doors of houses
and temples. These posters, once hand written by brahmins, are now printed.
On this day people bathe in the holy rivers.
- The people of Kumaon celebrate Raksha Bandhan and J anopunyu, the day on
which people change their janeu (sacred thread). On this day the famous
Bagwal fair is held at Devidhura in district Pithoragarh.
Ardh Kumbh &
- Though all the Hindu
festivals are celebrated here with pomp and gaiety, it is the Ardh Kumbh &
Kumbh Mela which attracts the mind of any tourist to this place.
The history of Kumbh Mela dates back to the creation of the Universe
legends. Mythologicals state that the Gods and the Demons once churned the
ocean to retrieve the Kumbh (pot) containing nectar of immortality (Amrit).
As Dhanvantri, the divine healer appeared with the Kumbh containing nectar
in her palms. A great fight followed between the Gods and the Demons to
wrist the pitcher. During the fierce battle in the sky, a few drops of
nector fell at four different places, Prayag, Hardwar, Nasik and Ujjain.
Since then devotees converge to commemorate this divine event.
The Ardh Kumbh is held every six years and than after six years Kumbh Mela
is held. It is said that a holy dip in the river Ganges during the Kumbh &
Ardh Kumbh gives you Moksha or Nirvana. People gather in huge number to take
the holy dip during these holy days. There are Saints, Naga Sadhus,
Politicians almost every one is here. The city is overflowing with people.
If going to Hardwar during the Kubh or Ardh Kumbh then avoid the over
crowded ghats. Every there are reports of stampedes and the various factions
or Akharas of Sadhus clash with each other. Ensure your accommodation well
in advance if going during the Kumbh.
Kavand Mela -
Ten days before Shivteras (during the months of Shravan
& Phagun) thousands of devotees throng to Hardwar to collect holy waters of
the river Ganga. Then they carry it back to their hometown & offer it at the
local Shiv temple. Colourful shops spring up and Hardwar resounds to the
chanting of hymns.
Maha Shivratri or Maha Shivaratri (Night of Shiva) is a Hindu
festival, celebrated all over the country with much pump and enthusiasm. The
festival usually falls every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna
Paksha of the month of Maagha (as per Shalivahana) or Phalguna (as per
Vikrama) in the Hindu calendar. The festival is exclusively dedicated to
Lord Shiva which is known by hundreds of names.
Shivratri is the day to rejoice…to pray to the almighty for wellness. Almost
all Hindus throughout the world offer prayers in the morning/evening and
some observe fasting throughout the day. Most people visit the nearby
temples of Shiva and offer prayers in large crowds. The prayers and worship
continue throughout the night and the devotees offer coconut, Bilva leaves,
fruits and specially prepared sacred food to Shiva and his divine consort
Parvati. As this is a dark fornight,
candles and diyas (a lamp made usually of clay, with wick made of cotton and
dipped in ghee) throughout the night
– this is a symbol of spiritual manifestation.
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