Information on all aspects of Uttarakhand including geography, history, government, districts, business, economy, travel, rivers, education, food, arts, culture, music, dance, festivals of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand State Information
Languages: Garhwali, Kumaoni, Hindi
Introduction to Uttarakhand:
Uttarakhand, also known as "Devbhumi" or the "Land Of God" with its scintillating natural beauty, fascinating snow-clad mountains, fresh and pure water and air, and an aura of Godliness, attracts people from all over the world all though the year.
With its unique jeep safari in Jim Corbett Park, trekking, rafting in river, paragliding, there can hardly be a better place for nature and adventure loving tourists. 'The Queen of Hills' Mussorie, 'The Switzerland Of India' Almora, 'Lake District' Nainital, Pauri, Pithoragarh, Munsiyari, Ranikhet, Kausani etc are a few of the several other captivating sites for the nature lovers.
Famous for mountaineering and aero sports like paragliding and hand gliding, Uttarakhand has been a great place of attraction for foreign tourists.
Kedarnath,Badrinath,Gangotri and Yamunotri, the four shrines, which stands for 'Char Dham' is located in Uttarakhand. The Panch Prayag- Karnaprayag, Vishnuprayag, Rudraprayag, Nandprayag, and Devprayag are where Ganga meets its tributaries on its way down to form the five sacred sangams. These sangams attract pilgrims as they are considered holy places. Also Haridwar and Rishikesh, two famous Hindu pilgrimages and Gurdwara of Hemkund Sahib, famous shrine for Sikhs, near valley of flowers are located in Uttarakhand.
Geography of Uttarakhand:
Uttarakhand, located in Northern India is formed from north western districts of Uttar Pradesh. It borders Nepal on the east, Tibet on the north, Himachal Pradesh on the west, Uttar Pradesh on the south and Haryana in the northwest.
In the ancient scriptures of Hindu religion, the combined region of Kedarkhand (Presently Garhwal) and Manaskhand (Presently Kumaon), has been mentioned as Uttarakhand or Devbhumi. The state is divided naturally by Nanda Devi Mountains, in two regions, Kumaon and Garhwal. Dehradun, the capital, is the railhead and the largest city of the state. Nainital is where the high court of Uttarakhand is located.
Both Kumaon and Garhwal have beautiful natural scenario, with a series of imposing mountain peaks of Chowkhamba, Bhagirathi, Pindari, Nanda Devi, Sahastrataal, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Milam, Jogin to name a few.
Nanda Devi, having an altitude of 25,643 feet is the highest mountain in Uttarakhand and the second-highest mountain in India after Kanchengunga located in Sikkim. Out of a total area of 53483 km2, the state of Uttarakhand is 65%covered by forest and 86% is mountainous.
The Valley of Flowers, a world heritage site designated by UNESCO, well known for the all absorbing beauty and variety of the rare plants and flowers, is located near Josimath in Garhwal .
Demography of Uttarakhand:
Generally the people belonging to Uttarakhand are called Uttarakhandi. Depending on their place of origin, they are sometimes specifically called either Kumaoni or Garhwali.
As per latest census, the population of Uttarakhand is 10,086,292.The population of men is around 5.1 million and women around 4.9 million. Rajputs and Brahmins comprise the major chunk of the population. 88% of the population consists of Hindus, while the rest is distributed among the minority religion of Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains and Buddhists. Among the minority, Muslims have the largest share of population. The most populous districts of the state are Udham Singh Nagar, Haridwar and Dehradun.
The two main dialects of the state are Kumaoni and Garhwali. There are other dialects such as Jaunsari and Bhotia, which are spoken by relatively small percentage of tribal communities in the north and the west. However, the official language of the state is Hindi and the urban class mostly speaks in Hindi.
Brief History of Uttarakhand:
Archaeological evidence like ancient rock paintings, paleoloithic stone tools, rock shelters, megaliths, etc suggest that this mountainous state had been frequented and inhabited from prehistoric times.
Findings in Chamoli and Almorah districts clearly reveal the existence of human habitation from Stone Age in this state. The name of this state can be found in the great Purans and Vedas and the legendary epic of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
During Vedic age, Uttarakhand formed a part of Panchal and Kuru kingdom (mahajanpads). Kunindas were the first major dynasties of Kumaon during 2nd century BC. According to findings, Kunindas practiced an early form of Shaivism
Early presence of Buddhism has been noted in Kalsi region where Ashokan edicts have been found. The kingdoms of Kumaon and Garhwal, were formed during the medieval period. The region fell to the Gorkha empire of Nepal in 1803, but in 1816, British took over the kingdom after winning the Anglo-Nepalese war, and formed the Treaty of Sugauli.
The similarity of traditions, geography, and proximity to different ethnic groups brought Kumaon and Garhwal closer forgetting their long rivalry, and this had greatly strengthened the movement for statehood of Uttarakhand in 1990.
Finally, on 9th November 2000, the birth of Uttarakhand took place by carving out 13 districts from Uttar Pradesh. It became the 27th state of India with Dehradun as its capital. The name Uttarakhand was coined for the state, which was changed later as Uttaranchal and again it was renamed as Uttarakhand.
Districts of Uttarakhand:
Uttarakhand comprises of 13 districts out of which 7 districts belong to Garhwal region and 6 districts belong to Kumaon region. The districts in the Kumaon region are Bageshwar, Almora, Nainital, Champawat,Udhamsingh Nagar and Pithoragarh while the Garhwal region comprises of Pauri Garhwal, Tehri Garhwal, Haridwar, Dehradun, Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi and Chamoli.
Economy of Uttarakhand:
From 2005 to 2014 Uttarakhand has registered a growth of around 19.57% which places it among the five fastest growing states in India.
Udham Singh Nagar, Haridwar, Dehradun and some parts of Nainital contributes to the main economy (around 80%) of the state. The hilly areas are predominantly dependent on agriculture, which get tremendous setbacks due to natural calamities, geographical locations and other physical constraints.
The major industries of the state are floriculture, horticulture, Agro and food processing Industries, biotechnology and information and communication technology. Forest products-mainly herbs and spices and tourism are major engines of economical growth in this state.
Uttarakhand Travel Information:
The development of economy in the state is greatly dependent on tourism, and it has been taken up as a thrust sector by the Government. For the development of tourism in the state, the Government has set up Uttarakhand Tourism Board as the apex body for tourism.
A separate and detailed tourism policy has been formulated which has included various incentives to boost tourism industry in the state. Huge investment is being planned to promote Eco-Tourism hotels, resorts, amusement parks, spa, ropeways, etc. Also special interest is being taken to promote development of proper facilities for delivering spiritual lessons, Reiki, etc.
Attention is being given to develop and promote Winter Sports which bring lot of sports lover every year.
Rivers of Uttarakhand:
Ganga and Yamuna are the two most important rivers of Uttarakhand. The other important rivers flowing through the state are Alakananda, Ramnanga, Bhagirathi, Sarayu, Saraswati, Dhauliganga, and Tons.
Climate of Uttarakhand:
Uttarakhand comprises of two distinctly different climatic regions, the hilly terrain and the plain region. So depending on the area, the climate is quite varied in this state.
In the summer season, the maximum temperature in the plains goes above 400c, where as middle Himalayan valley registers a temperature of around 250c and attracts people from the plains to find an escape way from the unbearable heat. Higher areas of Himalaya register a temperature of around 150c during summer.
Regular snowfall is witnessed at higher altitudes during winter and the Himalayan mountains remains snow clad. Chilling subzero temperature is also recorded at higher peaks whereas average temperature of around 5 to 60c in Middle Himalayas and 10 to 150c in plains are observed in the state.
Heavy rainfall has been registered in the eastern Himalayas compared to Western part during monsoon. The temperature in most part of the state remains pleasant between 15 to 250c during this period between July to September.
Education in Uttarakhand:
Dehradun, Mussorie and Nainital host some of the best boarding schools of India. Uttarakhand has very ambitious plan for higher education. It has around 1 Central University, 10 state Universities, 4 autonomous Universities, 10 private universities and 3 deemed universities. The most famous among these are AIMS in Rishikesh, IIT Roorkie, IIM Kashipur and NIT Uttarakhand.
Food of Uttarakhand:
Primarily the people of Uttarakhand are vegetarian though non-vegetarian food is also available. Coarse grain with high fibre content food is widely used in the state. Few famous cuisines are Kafuli, Baadi, Fannah, Arsa, Bhatt Ki Chrdkani, Ras, Gulgula,etc.
Festivals of Uttarakhand:
Apart from Garhwali and Kumaoni, Jaunsari, Buksha, Tharu, Bhotia, Raji also stays here which has led to wide variety of culture and tradition in the state. Ardh Kumbh Mela, Gauchar Mela, Kumbh Mela, Devidhura Mela, Nanda Devi Mela, Purnagiri Mela are the main fairs here.
Very colorful and distinctive festivals can be observed in this state. The major festivals are Basant Panchami, Makar Sankranti, Ganga Dussehra, Ghee Sankranti, Bat Savitri, Hill Jatra, Kandali, Janapunya, Khatarua, Phool Dei and Chhipla jaat.
Dance and Music of Uttarakhand:
Folk songs are very popular in this hilly state. Popular folk songs are Mandals, Panwaras, Thadya etc, and these are composed on the beats of Dhol, turri, damoun, dholki, ransingha, thali, masakbhaja and bhankora. The popular music is Chhopati, Jhumeila, Chounphula, Basanti, Mangal and Puja Folk Songs.
Langvir Nita is a famous dance for males. Barada Nati is another famous folk dance. Other popular dance is Pandav Nritya.