Uttaranchal borders China in the north and Nepal to the east, while its neighbour states are Himachal Pradesh to the west and Uttar Pradesh (of which it formed a part before 2000) in the south. The region is traditionally refered to as Uttarakhand in old literature and scriptures which derives from the Sanskrit for North Country. The provisional capital of Uttaranchal is Dehradun which is also a rail-head and the largest city in the region.






Uttaranchal is a region of outstanding natural beauty. Most of the northern parts of the state are part of Greater Himalya ranges, covered by the high Himalayan peaks and glaciers, while the lower foothills were densely forested till denuded by the British log merchants and forest contractors after independence. Recent efforts in forestation, however, have been sucessful in restoring the situation to some extent. The unique Himalayan ecosystem plays host to a large number of animals (including bharal, snow leopards, leopards and tigers), plants and rare herbs. Two of India's mightiest rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna take birth in the glaciers of Uttaranchal, and are fed by myriad lakes, glacial melts and streams in the region.

The tourism industry is a major contributor to the economy of Uttaranchal, with the Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve and the nearby hill-stations of Nainital and Bhimtal and several other hill-stations like Mussoorie, Almora and Ranikhet being among the most frequented destinations of India. To this region also belong some of the holiest Hindu shrines, and for almost 2000 years now, pilgrims have been visiting the temples at Haridwar, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Jageshwar in the hope of salvation and purification from sin. Rishikesh near Haridwar has the major spiritual and yoga centers of India. Gangotri and Yamnotri, the sources of the Ganges and Yamuna also fall in this region and are revered by many. Besides these most popular pilgrim centers, the state has an abundance of temples and shrines, references to most of which can be found in Hindu scriptures and legends. The architecture of most of these temples is typical of the region and slightly different from other parts of India, the ancient temples at Jageshwar being the most popular for their architectural importance.



Uttaranchal at a Glance ...
  Area : 55,845 sq km
  Capital : Dehradun
  Languages : Hindi, Garhwali, Kumaoni
  Religion : Hinduism
  Altitude : 640 m above sea level
  Population : 8479562
  Best Time to visit : April to November


Garhwal was formed in the 15th century, when king Ajai Pal merged the 52 separate principalities, each with its own fortress. For 300 years, Garhwal remained one kingdom, with its capital at Srinagar (not to be confused with the capital of Kashmir). The early medieval history of Kumaon is the history of the Katyuri dynasty. The Katyuri kings ruled from the 7th-11th century over large areas of Kumaon, Garhwal, and western Nepal. Temple building flourished under the Katyuris with their main architectural innovation being the replacement of bricks with hewn stone.


Forest Research (Chandrabani » Robber's Cave(Chandrabani) » Tapovan Temple(Chandrabani)» Dhikala (Corbett) » Ramnagar (Corbett) » Hanuman Garhi (Nainital) » Zoo Garden (Nainital) » Gun Hill (Musoorie) » Camel's Back Road (Musoorie) » Kempty Falls (Musoorie) » Naina Devi Temple (Nainital)


The major fairs and festivals of the Garhwal region are Hatkalika Fair, Tapkeshwar Fair, Surkhanda Devi Mela, Kunjapuri Fair, Lakhawar Village Fair, and Mata Murti Ka Mela.The major fairs and festivals of Kumaon region are Uttarayani Mela, Shravan Mela (Jageshwar), Kartik Poornima at Dwarahat, Kasar Devi fair, and Nanda Devi melas.


Air : The main airports of Uttaranchal are Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun (Garhwal) and Pantnagar Airport, Pantnagar (Kumaon). Both these airports are connected to Delhi, a major international airport of India. One can get taxis, buses and luxury coaches to move to different cities from these airports.

Rail : The major rail heads of Uttaranchal are Dehradun, Haridwar, Kathgodam and Roorkee. These railway stations are connected to the major cities of India by direct trains.

Road : The roadways network of Uttaranchal makes it conveniently connected internally as well with nearby states. The major gateways to Uttaranchal are dehradun and Nainital. Dehradun is on the NH 45. The Himachal road transport, Delhi and Haryana road transport, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan state transport buses, play regularly to Dehradun.

Some important distances are Agra- 381 Km, Gwalior- 499 Km, Jaipur- 493 Km, Shimla- 344 Km.


Garhewal » Almora » Binsar » Badrinath »Kedarnath » Kausani » Mussourio » Nanital » RaniKhet » Rishikesh


In the Muketshwar region one can come across Kakar or Barking deer (Mountiacus Mutjakva -ginalis), Leopard (Panthera Pardus), Monkeys (M.Assamensis), Bears (Selenarctus Thibetanus), Serow (Capricornia-Sumatraensis), Goral (Nemorhaedus Goral), Langurs (Presbytis entellus), Jackal (Canis aureus), Indian Fox (Vulpes Bengalensis), Himalayan Weasel (Martes Flavigula), Himalayan Stripped Squirrel (Callosciurus). Musk Deers and Snow Leapord are confined to high altitude regions. This region is home of thousand of species of birds. The bird assemblage of this region has been influenced by the palaeartic, south indian, chineseand central asia elements. Among the larger birds found in this area are Kites, Eagles, Vultures, Pheasants. The important birds that are find in the region are : Grey winged Black Bird (Turdus Boulboul), Chakor (Alectoris Graeca), Hoopoe, Small Blue Kingfisher, Monal Pheasant (Lophophorus Impejanus), Short-Toed Eagle, Hill Peagon, Ring Dove, Koel, Himalayan Cockoo, Brown Owl.


The peace and tranquility of Uttaranchal laid the foundation for a treasure house of paintings and art. Out of the two major art forms, the art of stone carving and woodcarving are fairly well known. The art of stone carving gradually died down, but woodcarving continued. Woodcarving could be seen on almost every door of a Garhwali house until only half a century ago. Woodcarving can still be seen in hundreds of temple all over Garhwal. The remains of architectural work have been found at the Chandpur Fort, temple of Srinagar, Pandukeshwar (near Badrinath), Devi Madin (near Joshimath), and Devalgarh Temple.