Uttarakhand is considered as “Devbhoomi” or “the Adobe of the Gods”. Formerly known as Uttaranchal, this northern state of India is blessed with immense natural beauty and essence of spirituality in every particle of its land. Uttarakhand has something to offer for each and every tourist and has a lot to enjoy irrespective of time and seasons. From the magical snow-capped mountains, streams, waterfalls, lakes, meadows, glaciers and eye-catching peaks to the sacred rivers, ghats, temples and ashrams, any wishlist is incomplete without Uttarakhand. While the scenic beauty refreshes your body and heals your eyes, the diversity of culture and spirituality make you explore your soul or the inner self. Let’s check out the top 5 places to visit in Uttarakhand:–
Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand, is one of those places that draw you into its scenic mountain folds, never failing to replenish your sense of awe every time you visit it. Ideal for those who are just looking for a quick retreat from the humdrum of everyday life, Dehradun is famously known as “the Great Escape”, especially for those from the crowded industrial capitals down in the plains. Robber’s Cave, with its clear trickling stream of water that peeks in and out of the ground as it meanders through the rocks, is a picture right out of a storybook. A visit to Dehradun wouldn’t be complete without the Tiger Falls, which is the highest in the region. The district of Dehradun is also home to the Queen of the Hills: Mussoorie. This place has a divine beauty in its landscape and a unique serenity in its air. If you want to see the rich history of Tibet in India with Hinduism mixed in it like sugar and water, Mussoorie gives the best demonstration of it. Best explored via treks, make sure you visit at least one of the numerous waterfalls of Mussoorie. The Jwalaji Temple, Doon valley, Kempty falls and Gun hills are also worth visiting.
The ancient city of Haridwar finds its place in the cornerstones of Hindu mythology for being an auspicious place where Lord Shiva released Goddess Ganga from the locks of his hair. Haridwar, therefore, marks the place where the Ganges first forays into the northern plains, forming the lifeline of India’s agriculture until today. Haridwar is also known for being the site of the world’s largest peaceful congregation called the Kumbh Mela. With millions of pilgrims arriving here from all over the world once in 12 years, it’s quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be at the epicentre of this wave of spirituality. Among the sacred ghats of Haridwar, Hari-ki-Pauri has a special place where Lord Vishnu left his footprints. With hundreds of diyas floating in the pious water of Ganga and thousands of devotees reading the holy chants in the background, the stunning scenes of Ganga Aarti will be an empyreal experience regardless of your religious persuasion. So, plan a visit to this heart-healing destination before someone else may take you here in the pot.
Nainital is quite literally a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. From housing India’s first ever national park- Jim Corbett to be the launchpad for Project Tiger, Nainital has various sanctuaries and zoos. Jim Corbett houses various resorts in its premises for a monitored public interaction with wildlife, thereby ensuring responsible wildlife tourism. Within the city, one can start from the High Altitude Zoo famous for its tigers, leopards and Red Pandas which are unique to the high altitude zones, followed by a trek downhill to take a calm boat ride in the Naini Lake. Nainital boasts of numerous lakes with sparkling clear blue water that calms your soul. Make sure you don’t leave Nainital without getting the famous perfumed candles from the Bada Bazaar for your loved ones.
4. Chardham- Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath
If you want to experience the divine essence of spirituality and culture of India, there is no better place than Chardham to visit. These four places are some of the holiest pilgrimage sites of India and have a special space in Hindu mythology. Among the four dhams or holy places, Kedarnath and Badrinath are easily accessible by road but Gangotri and Yamunotri are hard to reach. Kedarnath houses the famous Kedarnath Temple and Gauri Kund. The beauty of Kedarnath is inexpressible in any of the human languages. Situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, between the Nar and Narayan mountain ranges, lies the sacred land of Badrinath. The immense natural beauty and religious importance of Badrinath make it a popular tourist destination. Yamunotri, being the sacred home of sage Asti and the origin place of Yamuna, has a lot to offer for tourists. There are many awe-inspiring Himalayan glaciers, peaks and thermal springs. It is said that a dip in the Yamuna can heal all our pains. Gangotri is the origin place for Ganga. Gangotri is one such place where you can see the amazing blend of the mighty Himalayas and pious waters of Ganga.
Situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Auli is considered as the best destination for skiing in India. Auli is not less than a paradise for mountain sports lovers and enthusiasts. For those who haven’t dived into this before, special courses for skiing are available here at very affordable rates. But if you have no interest in adventure sports, a trip to Auli is not yet over for you. Tourists can enjoy the unmatchable beauty of nature and spectacular views of snow-capped mountains while sitting in a cable car. You can explore the ancient temples hidden in the lap of the hills. Joshimath is one of the most popular monasteries of the town. It was established by Adi Shankaracharya himself. Auli houses the highest man-made lake in the world: Artificial Lake. Apart from them, Mystery Lake and Vanshinarayan Kalpeshwar Temple and Trishul peak are also worth visiting.
A visit to Uttarakhand is a once in a lifetime experience for every tourist. This magical place reconciles every soul in its colours and makes you fall in love with it. So, if you want to observe the grandeur of Himalayas, to enjoy the snow, to experience the serenity of holy rivers and to connect yourselves with your soul, it’s never too late to plan a wonderful trip to the adobe of the Gods.