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Uttaranchal State Information

Capital : Dehra Dun

Districts :14

Language: Hindi, Garhwali, Kumaoni

Introduction to Uttaranchal

Uttaranchal is rich in flora and fauna, natural and touristic ambience, and houses some of the most important pilgrimage centers in the country. Destinations like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun, Uttarkashi, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath are known throughout the world for their breathtaking beauty as well as religious importance. Being a part of Western Himalayas, the state offers a full range of adventure sport options like river rafting, trekking, mountaineering, fishing, mountain biking, mountain safaris, skiing, paragliding, and many more like them. Amazing in its natural splendor and simplicity in its people, the region is a unique experience to your senses.

Geography of Uttaranchal

Uttaranchal is situated at coordinates 30.19° N and 78.04° E in the northwest portion of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state. It occupies 1.73% of India’s total land area with 51,125 sq. km. It has a population of about 6.0 million at 94.4 per sq. km. It borders Tibet, Nepal, Himachal Pradesh, and the UP plains districts. Dehra Dun, the state’ capital is about 255 km away from India's capital, New Delhi.

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 successful 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 state has two distinct climatic regions: the predominant hilly terrain and the small plain region. The climatic condition of the plains is very similar to its counterpart in the Gangetic plain-that is, tropical. Summers are unbearable with temperature going over the 40°C mark and a lot of humidity. Winters can be chilly with temperatures going below 5°C at times. The Himalayan region has Alpine conditions characterized by cold winters with snowfall for quite a long time, good rainfall in the monsoon, and mild summers. This climate also provides the state with its only livelihood, i.e., tourism. The alpine and tropical rainforests that cover most parts of the state make natural habitats of some of the best-known wildlife creatures India has on offer. The Jim Corbett National Park is home to Royal Bengal Tigers and ground for the plot of Jim Corbett's Man-eaters of Kumaon. Another rainforest in the region is Rajaji National Park famous for its large number of pachyderms. Alpine forests in the region include Valley of Flowers National Park (known for its amazing variety of flowers), Nanda Devi National Park, Govind National Park, Gangotri National Park, and many more

Brief History of Uttaranchal

Uttaranchal finds mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures as Kedarkhand, Manakhand and Himavat. The Kushanas, Kudinas, Kanishka, Samudra, Gupta, the Pauravas, Katuris, Palas, the Chandras and Pawaras and the British have ruled in turns. It is often called the Land of the Gods (Dev Bhoomi) because of its various holy places and shrines. The hilly regions of Uttaranchal offer unspoilt landscapes to the tourist -pilgrim. The present state of Uttaranchal was earlier a part of the United Province of Agra and Awadh, which came into existence in 1902. In 1935, the name of the state was shortened to the United Province. In January 1950, the United Province was renamed, as Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal remained a part of Uttar Pradesh before it came into being on 9 November 2000, the 27th state of India.

Districts of Uttaranchal

Uttaranchal has 14 districts: Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudra Prayag, Tehri Garhwal, Dehradun, Pauri Garhwal, Pithoragarh, Champawat, Almora, Bageshwar, Nainital, Udhamsingh Nagar and Hardwar

Economy of Uttaranchal

Uttaranchal’s 90 per cent of the population depends on agriculture. The net cultivated area in the State is 12,61,915 hectares. The State is rich in mineral depositys like limestone, rock phosphate, dolomite, magnesite, copper greyphyte, soap stone, gypsum, etc. The number of small scale industries is 41, 216 with an investment of Rs. 305.58 crore providing employment to 1,53, 229 persons. One hundred and ninety one heavy industries with an investment of Rs.2,694.66 crore employ 50,802 persons. Most of the industries are forest-based. The State has excellent potential for hydropower generation. There are a number of hydro-electric projects on the rivers Yamuna, Bhagirathi, Ganga, Ramganga and Sharda, generating electricity. Out of 15,669 villages, 12,315 villages have been electrified.

Uttaranchal Travel Information

Uttaranchal’s land blessed with magnificent glaciers, majestic snow-clad mountains, gigantic and ecstatic peaks, valley of flowers, skiing slopes and dense forests, this Abode of Gods includes many shrines and places of pilgrimage. Char-dhams, the four most sacred and revered Hindu temples: Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are nestled in the Mighty Mountains.

A picturesque state, with a breathtaking panoramic view of Himalayas, Uttaranchal promises its tourists a visit full of fun and unforgettable moments. 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 Yamunotri, 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 is comprised of two regions, the western half known as Garhwal and eastern half as Kumaon

Rivers of Uttaranchal

Uttaranchal’s main rivers are Ganga, Yamuna, Bhagirathi, Dhauli Ganga, Girthi Ganga, Rishi Ganga, Bal Ganga, Bhilangna River, Tons River, Alaknanda, Mandakini, Pindar and Nandakini

Education in Uttaranchal

As per 2001 census, Uttaranchal stands 17th in literacy rate with an overall literacy of 72.28%. The male literacy was relatively higher at 84.01% while female literacy is relatively lower at 60.26%. Nainital has the highest literacy of 79.60% while Haridwar has the lowest literacy of 64.60%. Uttaranchal hosts 5 Universities, one IIT center, and about 70 colleges affiliated to them.

Food of Uttaranchal

After experiencing the magic of cool and refreshing mountain breeze and breathtaking views of Himalayas it is time to indulge the taste buds. The traditional cuisine of the land is highly nutritious, simple to prepare and at the same time appealing to the palate. Here you will find delicious and mouth-watering Pahari recipes from both Garhwal and Kumaon region of Uttaranchal.

Arts & Culture of Uttaranchal

The major dance forms of the Garhwal region are Langvir Nritya, Barada Nati folk dance, Pandava Nritya, Dhurang, and Dhuring. The Kumaonese are also fond of music, folk dance, and songs accompanied by local musical instruments like murli, bina, and hurka. The hurka, played by the "jurkiya" is accompanied by the dancer known as "hurkiyari," who is usually his wife or daughter. They go from place to place narrating folklores, singing the praise of their gods and goddesses.

During fairs and festivals and at harvest time, the Kumaonese often dance the Jharva, Chandhur Chhapalior, and many other forms of folk dances. The popular folk songs are Malushahi, Bair, and Hurkiya Bol. 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; and of Kumaon region are Uttarayani Mela, Shravan Mela (Jageshwar), Kartik Poornima at Dwarahat, Kasar Devi fair, and Nanda Devi melas.

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.

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