“UTTARANCHAL – A PARADISE FOR TOURISTS Lying in the north of the vast and beautiful expanse of India, cradled in the awesome beauty and calm serenity of the Stately Himalayas, Uttaranchal, the Devbhumi (Land of Gods) has attracted toursists and pilgrims from world over since time immemorial. Sacred pilgrimages of different religions including Haridwar and the world famous Char Dham or the four Hindu Pilgrimage destinations of Shri Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri the sacred Sikh pilgrimage of Hemkund, Lokpal, Nanakmatta and Meetha, Reetha Sahib and Piran Kaliyar have drawn pilgrims and seekers for spiritual fulfillment to Uttaranchal. The holy river Ganga and Yamuna have their sources in the hills within this State. The rich cultural traditions, the rare natural beauty and the cool and invigorating climate of this land of origin of the holy Ganga and Yamuna rivers have been its main attractions.
Culturally, Uttaranchal has a rich and vibrant heritage. There are several local fairs and festivals like Jhanda Mela (Dehradun), Surkanda Devi Mela (Tehri Garhwal), Magh Mela (Uttarkashi), Nanda Devi Mela (Nainital), Chaiti Mela (Udham Singh Nagar), Purnagiri Mela (Champawat), Piran Kaliyar Mela (Haridwar), Joljivi Mela (Pithoragarh) and Uttarayani Mela (Bageshwar), indicative of the immense possiblitites for cultural tourism in Uttaranchal.
The Queen of Hills, Mussoorie, the Lake District of India – Nainital, Kausani, Pauri, Lansdowne, Ranikhet, Almora, Pithoragarh, Munsyari and many more attractive tourists destinations are part of Uttaranchal.
Uttaranchal is a paradise for adventure sports. The sheer variety ranging from mountaineering (Bhagirathi, Chowkhamba, Nanda Devi, Kamet, Pindari, Sahastrataal, Milam, Kafni, Khatling, Gaumukh), trekking, skiing (Auli, Dayara, Bugyal, Munsyari, Mundali), Skating, water sports (in all the lakes and rivers including the Tehri Dam in Uttaranchal) to aero sports like hang gliding, paragliding (Pithoragarh, Jolly Grant, Pauri) make Uttaranchal one of the most attractive destinations for adventure sports not only in India but the world over.
Along with the world-famous Corbett National Park, Uttaranchal has several breath taking destinations for Wildlife Tourism. These are the Rajaji National Park, Govind Pashu Vihar, Asan Barrage, Chilla and Saptarishi Ashram, the last four being a delight for bird watchers.
Uttaranchal has a flora and fauna which is diverse as well as rare. This make Uttaranchal an ideal location for eco-tourism. Eco-tourism includes jungle safaris, trekking on forest trails, nature walks, catch and release of Mahaseer and other fish species (at Pancheshwar). However, the utmost priority in all these activites is given to retaining the ecological fragility of the region.
A clean, fresh and invigorating environment makes Uttaranchal apreferred destination to relax and unwind. From the most modern facilities at Mussoorie and Nanital to the untouched, pristine beauty of its snow-clad peaks, rivers and mountains, Uttaranchal provides all that a tourist could possibly seek for amusement and leisure.
Kumaon Travel Destination
Kumaon is a beautiful travel destination of Uttaranchal State (India). Kumaon consists of districts of Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar, Almora, PithoraGarh, Champawat and Bageshwar. The area is in the lap of the Central Himalayas. Kumaon offers the best snowscape panoramas of the Greater Himalayan peaks in the north. God Vishnu’s Kurmavatar was taken here in Kurmu hill and due to the reason the area is known as Kurmanchal and later on it became Kumaon. Wildlife sanctuaries, fruit orchards, religious sites and a beauteous landscape are the different beauties of the region.
The Lake District Nainital is full of beautiful lakes. Its name is upon beautiful Naini Lake named after Goddess Naini.
Almora District, is a beautiful hill district and is very nice for exploring beauty of hills. Almora is the old city with a series of temples all over the District. Ranikhet, Kausani, Bageshwar etc. are other famous places to view in the district.
Ranikhet is known for its tremendous panoramic delights of the high Himalayas. The Famous Baba Hedakhan Temple is also here near Ranikhet.
Dwarahat, place near to Ranikhet is famous for its sequence of temples. It is believed that all Gods decided to stay in this area and ordered Ramganga river to flow from this place. The tree of a “SEMAL” (name of a tree) was ordered to tell the way to the river but the tree slept before arrival of the river and was not able to tell the way to the river. So river went on different route. Due to the reason the Gods were not able to stay in Dwarahat. The temples are very old and according to some people they are made by ‘Pandavas’ during there exile. The area of king VIRAT is also here where ‘Pandawas stayed during there last year of exile named as ‘Ajyatwaas’. There is one place in the area, which is known as bed of Bhima (One of the Pandawas). At this place if you hit on the ground it will sound very nice (like DHUM-DHUM). The area is full of memories of Pandawa’s. The old capitol of Kumaon ‘PALI’ (after Champawat) is also in the same area and known as ‘SARAKAARI PALI’ is still having signs of Gorakha attacks and their stay in Kumaon. After Independence it was a ‘Tahseel’ (subpart of a district) but now it has been shifted to Ranikhet and now known as Tahseel Pali-Ranikhet. In the area a beautiful place Dunagiri (Formally known as Dron-Giri) is there and is famous for Yoga and natural medicines. It is believed that when God Hanumaan was flying towards Lanka after taking Sanjeevani Bootee one part of the hill broke and fell here and this is the place which is now known as Dunagiri. Many famous people came here for Yoga and Samaadhi.
The people of the Kumaon are very peace loving and patriotic. There are lot persons in Indian Army from the region. Who do not know about Capt. Somnath Sharma, The first person who got the highest Indian army award Param Veer Chakra, was also from Kumaon Regiment.
The hills are the best place to spent holidays and for enjoying life.
The nearest airport for Kumaon is Pantnagar, 71 kms from Nainital, 118 kms from Ranikhet and 127 kms from Almora. The newly developed Naini Saini Airport at Pithoragarh shall also start, connecting Kumaon in near future with other parts of the country through commercial flights. The last railhead for Kumaon is Kathgodam on the rail line from Delhi and Lucknow. From Kathgodam regular bus services are provided by UP Roadways and the Kumaon Motor Owners Union, to Nainital (55 kms). Almora (90 kms) and Ranikhet (84 kms) etc.
Travel Garhwal Destination
Garhwal in the northern state of Uttranchal is an exceptional destination with charming surroundings. Garhwal is smack in the middle of the Himalayas, with Himachal Pradesh in the West and North-West; Tibet in the North; the plains of Western Uttar Pradesh in the South and Kumaon in the East. Garhwal is an administrative division of the raising state of Uttaranchal, comprising the districts of Chamoli, Dehradun, Pauri, Tehri and Uttarkashi. The history of Garhwal is older than that of the Ramayan and Mahabharata. Garhwal is a storehouse of antiquity a Mecca for the devout and a heaven for adventure sports like river rafting, aero sports & skiing. Making it an essential on the itinerary of adventure lovers, pleasure seekers and pilgrims alike.
The snow-wrapped mountains, luxuriant meadows, high-altitude lakes and impenetrable forests in the hills of Garhwal support exotic wildlife, bird life and plant life. The beautiful creations of nature in the Garhwal region add a bit of splendour to nature’s wealth that dwells in its surrounding.
Garhwal comprises of the seven districts – Dehradun, Haridwar, Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Pauri, Tehri and Rudraprayag. The region is a unique mix of diverse geographical, demographic and social characteristics, heightened by an intensified sense of religiosity. Garhwal is the supreme haven for the devout, and the home of varied flora & fauna. Garhwal also has immense scope for adventure sports like river rafting, aero-sports and skiing. There is ample scope for wildlife watching also, making it an essential entry on the itinerary of adventure lovers, pleasure seekers and pilgrims, alike.
The sacred shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri & Yamunotri are located here and so are the source of the most revered rivers Ganga and Yamuna. The legendary valleys of Garhwal blooming with natural beauty, also offer an unique style of hill temple architecture and fantastic handicrafts.
Garhwal is flourishing with natural resources, which can be seen especially in its surroundings. Nature is at its very best in the Garhwal Region. The entire region is blooming in abundance with varied vegetations. A large number of nature lovers, environmentalists and tourists descend upon the region every year. But, If you want to behold the beauty of Garhwal in a reserved region then visit Govind Wildlife Sanctuary, Nanda Devi National Park, Rajaji National Park and Kedarnath Sanctuary.
Ranikhet reflects the very best of the heavenly Himalayas ; their lush green forests, majestic mountain peaks, exotic plant life and attractive wild life. To see nature and its elements in full harmony, the right place to be is Ranikhet.
According to a popular belief, this spot had won the heart of Rani Padmini, queen of Raja Sudhardev. She chose this scenic place to be her abode and since then, it has come to be known as Ranikhet, literally ” Queen’s Field”. At an altitude of 1829mtres, above sea level, this hill resort is undoubtedly a tourists’ paradise.
The invigorating mountain breeze, the singing of birds, the panoramic view of the Himalayas – the sights, sounds and smells leave the onlooker spellbound. During the rains, flowers sprout up every where in rainbow colours, branches of tress stoop with ripened fruits and sunlight peeping through the mist and clouds, endow an enchanting effect all across Ranikhet. As winter comes, the softly falling snowflakes cover the environs in sheets of pure whiteness.
The charm of every season is irresistible in its own right. And this is what makes Ranikhet an all season destination.
Jhoola Devi Ram Mandir » 7kms. from Ranikhet on the way to Chaubatia, known for its temples devoted to the Goddess Durga and Lord Rama.
Naithna Devi » 35kms., from Chaukhatia, 34kms. from Bhitiasan and 54kms. from Ranikhrt the famous temple of Durga is situated at a 4km. walk from Dola village.
Mankameshwar » This temple is attached to the Nar Singh Maidan ( Ground), constructed by the Kumaon regiment. Opposite the temple is a Gurudwara and a Shawl factory.
Binsar Mahadev » 19kms., from Ranikhet, on the way to Ramnagar and 2kms from Sonidant, amidst dense Pine and Deodar forests. The shiva Temples of Binsar Mahadev are a unique place for meditation and picnics.
Hairakhan Temple (Chilianaula) » 4kms., from Ranikhet is famous for the temple of Baba Haira Khan. It commands a panoramic view of the Himalayas.
Tarikhet » 8kms. from Ranikhet is a well known for its Gandhi Kuti, and the temple of Golu Devta is venerated in the Kumaon region.
Chaubatia » 10kms. away and popularly known as orchard country, commands a picturesque view of the Himalayas.
Majkhali » 13kms. from, Ranikhet, on the way to Almora, Majkhali offers a close view of the snowy heights.
Chaukhutia » Chaukhutia is famous for its natural beauty and fishing centre. It is about 54kms enroute to Badrinath.
Manila » Manila ( meaning enchanting ) is 87kms. from Ranikhet & 75kms. from Ramnagar. Manila is the seat of Manila Devi – the family Goddess of the Katyuri clan. The forest and the Himalayan view from this hill is enchanting.
Jaurasi » 6000ft., above sea level, 16kms. from Chaukhutia, Jaurasi is famous for its panoramic view.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Dwarahat » 37kms. from Ranikhet, the once principal seat of the Katyuri Rajas is Dwarahat. A part from temples it is full of ancient sculptures. It is also known for its Syaldeh Bikhoti fair ( 13th to 15th April every year).
Bhikiasain » 55kms., from Ranikhet is famous for its Maha Savitri fair.
Almora Tours Travel
Almora is perched on a five-kilometre long horseshoe-shaped ridge, 1,650 metres above sea level. The town looks out over a fertile terraced valley and four ranges of hills – Banari Devi, Kasan Devi, Shyahi Devi and Katarmal. From the town one can see the magnificent Himalyan ranges to the North with the peaks of Trishul, Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot rising tall in majestic splendour.
Many hill stations, like Nainital for example, were established by the British. But Almora is a magnificent town with a long history. The Kashaya Hill on which the town is built finds a mention in the scripture of the Skanda Purana. In 1560 Raja Kalyan Chand of Kumaon made it the capital of his kingdom. At that time it was called Rajapur and ancient inscriptions on many places still have Rajapur carved on them The rule of Chand dynasty came to an end after the gorkhas from Nepal occupied the area in 1790. The British defeated the Gorkhas in 1815, and established a small Army establishment and a Cantonment.
Swami Vivekanada had this to say about Almora. “These mountains are associated with the best memories of our race: Here, therefore, must be one of centres, not merely of activity, but more of calmness of meditation, and of peace and I hope some one day to realize it.” In fact he expressed a desire to have a meditation centre established here and the Ramakrishna Mission at Bright End Corner is a not an active ashram but is a quiet retreat for monks.
The charm of Almora does not lie in the overcrowded Mall. It lies in other places that include:
The Almora Bazaar : The cobbled stone streets of the bazaar are a delight to walk through. Houses and shops align the narrow streets that bustle with activity in the evenings. The traditional architecture is very much in evidence here as one spots carved doors and windows. Some of the best examples of the old styles of architecture van be found in Khazanchi Mohalla, an area which once belonged to the state treasurers. As you walk on the cobbles stoned path the markets change from Lala Bazar at one end to Thana Bazar on the other. In between are Karkhana Bazar, Khajanchi Mohalla, Jauhari Mohalla, Malli Bazar and Tamta Mohalla. Tamta Mohalla just short of the Cantonment. One of the traditional crafts of Almora is copperware and some of the best coppersmiths still work from their traditional area Tamta Mohalla. As you walk through this area the air reverberates with the sound of wooden hammers on metal and one can spot the Tamta community at work carving exquisite brass utensils and decorative items.
Nanda Devi Temple : This temple is dedicated to the patron goddess of the local population and the Chand rajas, and is located in the antechamber of a Shiva temple in the Bazaar above the Mall.
Chitai Temple : The famous hilltop temple of Chitai is 6 kms from Almora. Lord Golla, to whom the temple is dedicated is a deified general of the Chand dynasty. The shrine and the trees in the compound are decorated with bells offered by devotees who tie a bell either while making a wish or in thanksgiving.
Nainital Tourist Destination
The Nainital tourist destination is the pride of the Kumaon region in Uttaranchal. While there are many other places equally beautiful, Nainital is certainly the most popular tourist destination in Kumaon. It’s a pleasant hill station. For tourists looking for hustle and bustle the best time to go is the summer months when a lot of traffic ascends from Delhi and the plains. The town gets equally crowded during the September/ October season which coincides with the Diwali and Puja holidays. However, like most hill resorts, it has its quite periods too. During the winter, Nainital is quite another beautiful experience when it reverts back to the local population and the crowds are absent. Peaceful, open, and invigorating.
In Indian mythology, Nainital is regarded as one of the 64 ‘Shakti Peeths’. Legend has it that a grief stricken Lord Shiva was carrying Sati’s body and one of her eyes fell here. The Nainital Lake is shaped like an eye and the town derived its name from the combination of Nain (eye) and Tal (lake). The Naina Devi temple is located at one end of the lake.
Lakes : Nainital has several lakes close by- Bhimtal,Sattal, Naukuchiatal, Khurpatal, Malwatal, Harishtal and Lokhamtal. Sat Tal (seven lakes) is 22 km from Nainital. Bhimtal is close by, almost the same distance from Nainital. Close to Bhimtal, 4 kms away is Naukutchiatal.
Sports and adventure activity : The Nainital Yacht Club has been encouraging sailing for a long time. Apart from yachting, one can canoe and kayak on the lake. Parasailing activity has started near Naukuchiatal Hot ballooning camps have sprung up near Sukhatal.
The Golf Club near the Raj Bhawan is a delight. For those interested in rock climbing and mountaineering, the Nainital Mountaineering Club would be a good place to start.
Neighbouring hill stations and towns : The quiet hill station of Ranikhet is 60 kms from Nainital. It is mainly an Army cantonment and thus has not grown the same way as other towns in Kumaon. Ram Nagar is 65 kms from Nainital and famous for being the place to access Corbett National Park, 50 kms away. Mukteshwar was once a British cantonment. It is located 52 kms from Nainital and is really quiet, green and picturesque. It offers some of the most magnificent views of the Himalayan peaks. The oldest town close by is Almora, 60 kms from Nainital. Steeped in Indian culture and traditions, Swami Vivekanada recommended Almora as a great place to meditate in. The Nainital, Almora, Ranikhet route can be made into an interesting itinerary for someone interested in a quick 3 day tour of the area.
Getting there : The nearest railhead is Kathgodam, 35 kms away. Kathgodam is a pleasant railway station with a quaint restaurant which looks as if it is frozen in time. Trains arrive at Kathgodam from Agra, Delhi and Lucknow. By road, Nainital is approximately an 8 hour drive from Delhi at a distance of 277 kms.