Tourist Places of Rishikesh

1. Rishikesh and Raghunath Temple :- (1.6) km legendary tank where Lord Rama took booth is a popular bathing stop for pilgrims.

2. Trivine Ghat :(1.6) A bathing ghat where there streams of Ganga Yamuana and Saraswati are said to flow together. It is a sacred place whereupon Sharadha is performed. There are several temples around.

3.               Bharat Temple :- (1.6km.) Open from 5.00 A.M. to 11.00 A.M. and 1.00 P.M. to  9.00 P.M. a very old temple built and situated by massive walls, This temples is situated  in the heart of Rishikesh town.

4. Laxman Jhoola :– It is a bout 3 km north of Rishikesh. There was a handing jute rope bridge(without) till 1889 and was rebuilt with iron ropes in 1939 on the Ganga a Sapn of 240 meters is a beautiful sight. Reghunathji’s  temple and thirteen story temple is situated in the heart of Rishikesh town.


5. Neelkanth Mahadev

Neelkanth in 14 km from Rishikesh wiched locked at a higher of 1,550m is also famous for its healthy climate and scenic beauty. There is a temple dedicated to Nellkanth Mahadev.

At Neelkanth good food and accommodation is available. From here it is worth while to visit Bhuvameshwari Devi Temple -2 km trek and further 3 km is Jhilmi gufa. Now days it is memorable.

6. Kailashanath Mission Trust –: Thirteen Story temple

The greatest bills of the supreme bills of the self. And Service to that self elicites that motto of the Kailashanand Mission Ashram. This was founded in 1954-55 by one of the great Yogis his Holiness Sri 108 Swami Kailashanand Jee Maharaj.

The site of Mission is on Manikut Hills of bounded on one side by the river Ganges, and on the other by the side of Himalayan mountain range. The deep spiritual experience gained by His Holiness Swami Jee are ample testimony that the place in eminently suitable for Yoga Practice and spiritual progress.

There exists an interesting legend a bout the Manikut Hills. It is this the famous epic, the Ramayan, Hanuman gathered the Sanjivine herb which is found exclusively on the Manikut Hill.

A thought the Manilut Hill, being so inaccessible, were the perfect site for an Ashram this did present a problem for the sick, for the were troublesome to climb.Swamijee envisioned a nature cure sanatorium connected to a Guest House and in a short while Swamijee had a new building erected right on the banks of Ganges at Tapovan in the dirtiest of Tehri Garhwal.

Swamijee also founded a nature Cure Center for lepers in the same vicinity, near Sarai. It has excellent well – equipped laboratory, facilities for cord water bath, sun bath, steam bath, Physical exercises and bathing, Biochemical and Ayurvedic remedies are employed producing excellent result restoring the corresponding substances in the body. Than there are Naturopathic vibratory and electrical treatments for the diseases of the blood vessels woman’s ailments children’s diseases diabetes gall stones and mental, emotional psychological and physical disorders are successfully treated at the Mission’s Nature – cure center swami jee having in mind in the inaccessibility of the Manikut Hills established a third  center at LakshmanJhula and named  it “Swarg niwas” ( the Heavenly Abode).

A. “Swarg Niwas” ( The Heavenly  Abode): An impressive 13 – storey  building is situated at LaxshmanJhula. When people enter this place then often feel they have reached the summit of their life, as they gaze reverentially and devotedly at the exquisite Divine pictures and statues installed thoughts the building. It has excellent facilities for the study and teaching of Yoga Spiritual Knowledge and mystic Science. There is a large auditorium for lectures on the life as well as for congregation chatting of the divine Name. There is also retiring rooms where travellers weary from their long journey can it they so desire  stay overnight provide they observe the mission’s rules and regulations.

B. Charitable centre for Consultation and Prescription of Ayurvedic Naturopathic Medicines:-A staff of well – trained and experienced Physicians attends the patients. They diagnose and prescribe free pf charge. Adjacent to the centers is free drinking – water facility.

C. Lakhmanjhula House and Nature cure Sanatorium:– An attractive 5 – storey building  situated in Lakhmanjhula area, has facilities for all types of Nature – cure treatments .

D. Nature cure center for Lepers: at tapovan – This center is in full operation and servers those effected with serious skin ailments. A well – qualified Physician is in attendance. Fresh fruit for the patients comes from the gardens of the Mission.

E. The Kailashananda Mission at Manikut parvat :- The Mission stand high on a hill top thousand of feet above sea level. It has flower garden and fruit orchards which supply needs of the Ashram and has facilities for all types of treatment, such as Naturopath, Hydrotherapy  etc. There are also facilities for sun bath, vapour bath and various other nature – cure techniques.

F. Ram Jharokha Ashram :–  This Ashram is operated under the auspices of the Mission and thousand the employs of the Mission There is cowshed where the cows are tamed and served according to the doctrine of cow worship  as ordained  by the scripture . The cow’s milk is used by the Ashram only..

G. Extension of India culture and Philosophy Department:– There is a separate department for the extension and propagation of ancient India culture. It publishes book from time and time for the benefit of the public.

From thirteen story a panoramic view of Laxman jhula City of Rishikesh,  Ganga  is fantastic and unforgettable will leave an everlasting picture for life time.

Anyone contributing to the mission will receive the gratitude of the Kailshanand  mission and the  blessing of his Holiness.

Thus the message of his Holiness. Yogi Raj is that the way to happens is thought the practice of Yoga. The result is a happier inner life and a happier other life.

At the kailashanand mission where you look you find the tress plants and flowers bathed in celestial light. They are an expression of the Supreme Being that higher power, without the world could not exit. That is benign is every all around ever pervading. In the Kailahanand Mission amid the quit and tranquility you can not help, feel the presence of that supreme one. it flows thought you up lifts you transforms you. You benign to sence and feel and know the glory and magnitude in which Swami jee lives constantly. it is truly renovating strengthening spiritually experience you will never forget nor will you want to forget it.

7. Swarg Ashram :-   Around 1.5 km ached to thirteen storey temple Laxmanjhula lies Swarg Ashram. Regular taxis play between Laxmajhula and Swarg Ashram during day time only. If there is rush of visitors/tourists taxi are also stop to facilitate them to walk on road. it is a quiet place on the left bank of the Ganges  opposite to shri Sivananda Ashram. Swarg Ashram can also be reached by crossing the Ganga or thought Sivananda Bridge popularly called as Ramjhula a newly constructed ropeway bridge spanning between  Sivananda Divine life society and Swarg Ashram .

8.Gita Bhawan :- The temple and group of building have a Gita and the Ramyan inscribed on its well lie, Sung in the forest at the foot of hills on left bank of Ganges near Swarg Ashram. The Bhawan is controlled by a body of trustees who are affiliated to Gita press Gorakhpur. The mission  of the trust is to sever the society by moral and spiritual means.

9. Parmath Niketan :- Next to Geeta Bhawan is parmarth Niketan which was established by the of Shahjahanpur in U.P.

10. Swami Sivananda and the Divine Lift society:- Swami sivananda – The Founder

On the 8th september 1887 in the early hours of the morning was born a boy – child [Kuppuswami] in the village of pattamadai on the bank of the river Tamraparni in south India. Sri P.S. vengu lyer a Tahsilder and great Shiva bank and Shrimati Parvati Ammal and equally great God – fearing lady were the fortunate parents of this child.

After the Completion of the first arts Examination, Kuppuswamy went to the medical School at Tanjor to study medicine. He possessed more knowledge than doctor with cover table degrees and in the first year it self he could answer the papers which the final year students could not.

Kuppuswamy completed the course and earned the title of M.B.C.M. he practiced at Tiruchi. While practicing he started a  medical journal called the “ The Ambrosia”

Dr. Kuppuswamy reached Rishikesh on the 8th of May 1924. On the 1st of June 1924 there comes His Holiness Sri swami Visvananted Saraswati. The doctor saw a Guru in the monk and the monk saw a Chela in the doctor. After a brief personal talk Dr. Kuppuswamy  was the initiated into the sannyas order by Swami  visvananda . Swami Vishnu devananada ji Maharaja the Mohan of Sri kailash Ashram performed the viraja Homa ceremonies. The Guru named the doctor Swami Sivananda saraswati Swami Sivananda stayed at swargashram for Sadhana.

Swami Sivananda dress to clothe him self ate to ate live and lived to serve humanity. A small dilapidated kutir not resorted to by others and infested with scorpions protected him from rain and sun. Living in  that Kutir he did intense Tapas  observed silence and fasted. Often the fasted for day together. He would keep a good stock of dry bread in his room and for a week have this toghter with Ganga in water. He would spend  up hips in the ice-cold  Ganga in the winter morining and commence his japa coming out  only when the Sun appeared. He would spend more then twelve hours in daily meditation with all his  intense Tapas Swamiji did not neglect served them and shampooed their legs. He begged food on their behalf and fed them  with his own hands and when they will fell sick . He brought water from the Ganga and washed their kutirs. He attended upon cholera and smallpox casses. When necessary  he kept vigil through the night by the side of the bed of the ailing sadhu. He carried sick person on his back to the hospital. With some money from his insurance policy that had matured , Swami starred a charitable dispenasary at Laxman jhula in 1927. He served the pilgrims and saw Narayan in them.

Swamiji practiced all the various Yoga’s and studied the scriptures. After years of intense and unbroken sadhna, he enjoyed the bills of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. He had come to the end of his spiritual journey.

He used together bits of paper, margins of newspapers and used envelops and stitch them in to little notebook. He entered some self instructions in them. Some of the instructions found in them read thus “Give up salt give up spice give the vegetable, give upchutnies give up tamarind in another we read “Serve Bhangis ,serve rouges, serve inferiors remove faecal matter clean cloths of Sadhus – take delight carry water in another page do not revenge resist not evil bear insult and injury. On some neat little pages we can again read “Forget like child any injury done by somebody immediately.  Never keep in the heart it Kindles hatred. cultivate maitri Karuna  Day Perma kshama in anther paragraph we see. “ Develop good manners  extreme politeness courtesy  etiquette good demeanor nobility gentleness mildness never be rude harsh or cruel. There is nothing to be hated in the world. Hatred is ignorance. All contempt for anything or being must be remove though love and vichara.

Swamijii traveled the whole length and breadth of India during his parivajaka. He visited important place  of pilgrimage in the south including Rameswaram he conducted Sanskritan and delivered lectures. Swamijii then went to a trip to kailas – Mansarovar and Badrinath .

On the 14 July 1963 the Great Soul  Swami Sivananda entered Mahasamadhi in his Kutir  on the bank of Ganga in  Sivanandangar.

The Organisation: – He returned after pilgrimage to Rishikesh and in year 1936 Sowed the seed of the Divine Lift Society on the right bank of the holy Ganga.

Sivananda Ashram:- He Headquarters of the Divine life Society are housed at Sivanandanagar on the bank of the Ganga at a distance of 3 km from Rishikesh town and served by Tongs (horse – cabs) and taxis.

From a Small benging the society grew imperceptibly and  it is now the Headquarters of the world  – wide Organization having a large number of branches both with in the country and outside. He got the Divine Life Society registered as a trust in the year 1936with the main objects of dissemination of spiritual Knowledge and selfless service on the humanity. The publication of the monthly journal. The Divine Life was commenced in September 1638 to coincide with the celebration of his birthday.

Swami Sivananda believed in synthesis in everything in Yoga as well as in the alleviation of human suffering. The allopathic treatment was inseparable from him and the society even from the earliest days of his life at Swag Ashram. He now felt the need to serve the people with the  Ayurvedic preparations out of the here Himalayan herbs. He therefore instituted the Sivanand Ayurvedic pharmacy in 1945 which now has grown to such extent that is even unable to cope up with the increasing demands from the people.

The small dispensary that was inseparable from Swami sivananda, grew slowly and become a regular Hospital with X-ray and other facilities. The sivananda Eye Hospital was formerly opened the in December 1957. The hospital has 22 beds for in – patients.

Swami sivananda yoga which he has significantly called the “Yoga of Synthesis effects a harmonious development of the ‘hand’  ‘head’ and heart thought the practice of karma – Yoga jnana – Yoga and Bhakti Yoga.

The institution serve as a place of preservation of the ancient traditions and cultural practices that have come down as time- honored heritage. It has been built up to serve as a model of many – sided altruistic activity an ideal to copy intended to bring bout a complete unfoldment of the human personality and  to ravel the essential blending thogether of all side of  human natural. The society also function  as an ideal and place of spiritual retreat for the educated citizen of the world where in he can renew himself and refresh his beings physically mentally morally and spiritually.

11. Baba Kali Kamliwala panchayati Kshettra:- It is  one of the very old  institution  found by Shri Baba Vishudda Nanda ji and now run by a trust. The man office of the institution is at Rishikesh in the city and branches at all the pilgrim centers in uttarakhand. The institution helps and arranges for the lodging and boarding of the pilgrims even to the summits of the Himalayas up the Kailash.

In the south of the city on the banks of the Ganges Atma Vigrayn Bhawam   is established by the above Kshettra where a  large number of cottages are built for free lording  of the ascents and ascetics and medicates leading holy lives.

12. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation center:- The  Transcendental meditation preached by his Yogi appeals to the western mind.  Nothing is there and no sacrifices or renunciation is required one can meditate in all the trappings of luxury. The Yogi was unknown till he got him self a public relation expert who arranged for his trip to England and booked the ball – room of the elegant claridges hotel for his now. Complete with  a specially tailored saffron outfit flowers and proper lighting the Yogi with his soft – spoken  syllables enthralled the  audience among the whom were the world famous pop singer fabulous Beatles who done more for British economy that most industries and was consequently honoured by her Majesty the Queen. Once the Yogi captured in interest of group there was no turning back. They come to India followed by anthers arties including Mr. Farrow. This was 1957 Mahesh Yogi  has gone a long way since then  with meditation centers in America which has give then beside countless dollars a professorship at prominent university. The Yogi Professor of Transcendental meditation has been recognized by Harvard university doctors who appeared after test of the   curing qualities to transcendental meditation specially for the nervous disorder. Of his wealth the Yogi commented “I like money – there is nothing wrong with it, it does not interferes with meditation. The headquarters of the meditation center is at a Swarg Ashram. Other holy men with no pretensions to wealth including   Swami Premwani Swami Ram and many more have set up Charitable Ashram here.

13. Pushkar Temple:- (1.6km) A newly constructed temple. It is said to have associations with the Pushkar Temple of Ajmer.

14. Shatrughan Temple at Muni – Ki – Reti: – (4.8 km from Rishikesh) this is ancient temple dedicated to Shatrughan, the youngest brother of lord Rama.

15. Satyanarayan Temple: – The Temple is situated at a distance of 16 km from Haridwar on the way to Rishikesh.

Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas

The actives of sage and philosopher Swami Omkarananda embrace spiritual cultural education scientific and social fields. One of the significant achievements in these fields in the unique work he has done for the upliftment of the backward regions in the hills of the Himalayan Garhwal area. In recognition of his extraordinary services he has already received   several prestigious honours like mother India Award Bharat Nirman Award and Hind Rattan Award.

The Ashram at Rishikesh set on the foot-hills of the Himalayas is the one of the main branches of his international Intuition. It aims at the real station of educational, Social cultural and spiritual projects. Omkranand Ashram Himalayas carries on its activates through its registered Trust – Omkrananda Educational society, Omkrananda Natya Kala Academy and other education and educational and cultural Institution.

Branch Of Omkarananda  Ashram:-

1. Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas, Muni – Ki –Reti, Rishikesh.

2. Omkarananda Dharma Samsthan, Mumbai.

3. Omkarananda Shanti Bhawan, Mussoorie.

4. Omkarananda Dharma Samsthan, Kanchipuram.

5. Omkarananda Dharma Samsthan, New Delhi.

Omkarananda Dharma Samsthan

1. Omkarananda Shanta Durga Mandir :- The original Temple – cum- Ashram Complex in Muni – Ki – Reti .

2. Omkarananda Dipeshwar Mandir: – Temple – Cum- Ashram Complex, In Laxman  – Jhula by the holy river Ganga.

3. Omkarananda Ram Mandir: – IN Upper Tapovan, where the Ashram is maintaining is own of farm.

4. Omkarananda Satyanryan Mandir:– Another Temple – cum –Ashram complex right on the other bank of Ganga.

5. Omkarananda Gaytrri Sadan :– It is situated at the holy spring of sheshdhara, directly on the bank of the holy river Ganga,between Laxman jhula and Muni – Ki –Reti. This place is ideally suited for spiritual aspirants and their Sadhana. The same buldining houses the

Omkarananda Vedanta Center :– Whcih provids lectures and publications on Upanishads, Vedanta Sutra etc,.

Omkarananda Charitable Trust

1. Omkarananda Institute of Management and Technology:- Approved by all India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), Ministry of Human Resource Development,Goverment of India to run M.B.A. Courses offered are : B.B.A.(Bachelor  of Business Administration), B.C.A.(Bachelor of Computer Application) And M.B.A.(Master of Business Administration). Situated in Omkarananda Bhagwan, Muni – ki – Reti with hostel a well furnished computer laboratory and a good library.

2.                 Omkarananda Center for Computer Education and software Developments: – It is also in Omkarananda Bhawan, Muni – Ki- Reti. This computer center is recognized by he Department of Electronics Accreditation of Computer Courses (DOEACA) Government of India.

3. Omkarananda Ganga Sthal Apartments: – Residential quarters for professors and the teaching staff of Omkaranand institute to Management and Techongely.

4. Omkarananda Shivalaya :- Provides boarding and lodging to the students of the Omkarananda institute to Management and Techogely.

5. Omkarananda Public Library: – It is the fist Public library in the in the area of Muni – ki – Reti.

6. Okarananda Ram- Ashram Public :- On the bank of the holy  river  Ganga, has accommodation  possibility for the scholar and visitors.

7. Omkarananda GOvt Homeopathic Hospital

8. Red – Cross  Maternity and chidwelfare Department

9. Omkarananda Ganaga Sadan :- Trust’s beautiful guest house , in Muni – Ki – Reti, Satsang and Yoga – Classes are conducted here at the Patanjala Yoga Kendra.

10. Omkarananda Public Gnat :– Adjacent to Omkarananda Ganga sadan provides easy approach to the holy Ganga .

11.            Omkarananda Social Palace :- Moderately priced hotel/ Dharamsala, Situated behind Rodways  Bus Stand.

Omkarananda Education Society

1.                 Omkarananda Sarswati Degree College, Deoprayag:- Affiliated to H.N. Bhaguna Garhwal  University srinagar, this is the is the only privately managed Degree College in the whole of Uttaranchal.

2. Omkarnanada Sarswati Nilayam :– A Co – educational English Medium Senior  secondary School affiliated to I.C.S.E. New Delhi situated in Muni – Ki – Reti with more then 1100 students.

3.                 Omkarananda Sarswati  Nilayam Preparatory School :– Nursery and KG school located in Rishikesh.

4. Omkarananda Boy’s Hotel: – Situated in Omkarananda Niwas,Muni – Ki- Reti With borading and lodging facilities to the students of Omkarananda Saraswati  Nilayam.

5.                 Omkarananda Saraswati Natya Kaka Academy:– Affiliated to prayag Sangeet Samiti Allahabad, conducting courses in India classical dance and music.

6. Vani Educational Society :– Maintaining 30 Basic Schools and 10 junior High Schools in the remote villages in the districts of Tehri Garhwal pauri Garhwal and Rudraprayag.

7. Omkarananda Educational Foundation, Mimbal :–  Established on Vijay Dashami, 1994 with aims and objects to proved educational  aid and Scholarship to needy and deserving students.

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Strengths, opportunities and constraints of the Uttarakhand tourism product


  • Diverse scenic beauty
  • The Himalayas as an icon
  • Strong cultural links to the Hindu faith
  • Strongly rural character with unique ethnic communities


  • Holiday / leisure tourism based at the many hill resorts and natural locales
  • Pilgrimages
  • Nature-based and adventure activities (both hard and soft)
  • Integration of rural communities into the development and promotion of tourism
  • Integration of cultural elements into the natural tourism product
  • Creative packaging


  • Physical infrastructure support in general, especially inadequate transport infrastructure
  • Limited quality accommodations
  • Poor destination management at some established centres

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Tourism in Uttarakhand

The review of the geographic position of the State, as well as its tourism products, makes it apparent that the State in fact has two distinct regions, Garhwal and Kumaon. Garhwal is prominent for pilgrimages, rivers and trekking routes, while Kumaon has a more diffuse image that includes being more remote, forested, with ‘tals’ (lakes), glaciers, some historic attractions, the Nanda Devi Sanctuary and a closer view of the Himalayan peaks. Cultural tourism is predominant in Kumaon.

However, analysis of the region indicates that much of the adventure and nature related tourism stretches over both the Garhwal and Kumaon region with the more difficult and challenging treks actually ranging across the two regions. River rafting activites also span the regions, with the Gomti and the Rishi Ganga stretching across the two regions. The terai, to the south of the State, spread across both Garhwal and Kumaon, forms the wildlife circuit of the State. According to tour operators, there were only few frequented destinations in the State. These include:

1.   Rishikesh: located in Garhwal, as a adventure / religious / festival destination

2.     Uttarkashi / Joshimath: located in Garhwal region, as an important religious / pilgrimage centres

3.  Char Dham: located in Garhwal region, consist of four pilgrimage sites

4.     Dehradun: located in Garhwal region, educational and institutional centre as well as transit node  between plains and hills

5.  Mussoorie: located in Garhwal region, hill-station for domestic tourists

6.   Nainital: located in the Kumaon region, hill-station for domestic tourists

7.    Corbett: located in the Kumaon region, important wildlife sanctuary


Mountainous terrain and snow bound winter months in the higher ranges have made accessibility to large parts of the State difficult. While important base towns such as Dehradun and Haldwani / Kathgodam have relatively good road and train connections from the main gateway of New Delhi, accessibility to the higher reaches of the State is limited to roads. The length of National Highways in the State is limited.

Air connections in the State are currently limited to Dehradun’s Jolly Grant airport. The Pant Nagar airstrip located in Udhamsingh Nagar District in the foothills of Kumaon has remained closed for several years now. Existing high-altitude airstrips located at Chinyalisaur and Naini Saini in the Garhwal region and at Pithoragarh in the Kumaon region are proposed to be enhanced and made operational for the first time shortly.

Flora and fauna

Traditionally the mountains in the lower regions of Uttaranchal were covered with a thick blanket of moist deciduous forest. Today, however, much of this forest has been cut for commercial lumber. Between elevations of 1,500-3,000m, natural vegetation consists of pine, oak, rhododendron, poplar, walnut and larch. Below the snow line, the vegetation consists of forests of spruce, fir, cypress, juniper and birch, while above the snow line (in the higher reaches of the State) is alpine vegetation that includes mosses, lichen and a diversity of wildflowers such as blue poppies and edelweiss.

As a result of deforestation, much of the original fauna of the Himalayas is now restricted to protected areas and sanctuaries. Notable fauna in the region includes the Himalayan bear, musk deer, the wild goat ghoral, bharal or blue goat, wolves, snow leopards and varieties of deer such as barking deer.

Avifauna in the region is regarded as one of the richest in the sub-continent, with over 500 species of birds.


The climatic conditions change with the rise of altitude, ranging from sub-zero temperatures at high altitudes in winter to moderate temperatures in the lower tracts in summer.The region has three distinct seasons – monsoon (June – September), winter (October- February) and summer (March – May). Nearly all forms of precipitation, from rain to hail and snow can be more or less observed in the State. The southwest monsoon commences after mid-June and continues up to September, characterised by high cloudiness and torrential rainfall. Snowfall occurs between January and March in the upper and lower Himalayan ranges. The average rainfall in the region varies from 1,016mm in Pauri (Garhwal foothills and lower to sub-Himalayan tracts) to 2,540mm in Nainital (lower Kumaon Himalayan ranges). Snowfall occurs at places situated at higher elevations, particularly above 2,000m.


Uttaranchal lies almost entirely in the Himalayan region, with three distinct topographical belts – the Shivaliks in the sub Himalayan tract (300-600m amsl), the Himachal ranges in the lower Himalayan region (1,500-2,700m amsl), and the Himadri ranges in the upper Himalayan region (4,800-6,000m amsl). The Garhwal and Kumaon regions of the State together form approximately 350km of the 2,500km long Himalayan range. In the south of the State is the terai, a belt about 15-20km wide, that separates the hills from the plains, and comprises thick jungles, swamps and grasslands. Large tracts of this land now comprise highly fertile farmlands. Next follows what can be called the lower hilly region, ranging between 600m-1,800m and it is in this region that the bulk of the population lives. The middle hill region that lies between 1,800-3,000m is mostly forested, thinly populated, has poor water supply and is dependent on animal husbandry. The high altitude region (above 3,000m) is about 30-45km wide along the northern international border and is usually snowbound throughout the year, with only a few valleys with human habitation. Winter migration is still a common practice in the region.

The prominent peaks that fall within the State are Nanda Devi (7,818m), Mana (7,274m),

Chaukhamba (7,144m), Trishul (7,122m), Dunagiri (7,068m), Satopath (7,075m), Nanda Kot

(6,861m), Pindar (6,320m), Bandar Poonch (6,315m), Swarg Rohini (6,245m) and Panchchuli

(6,095m). In addition, there are several other peaks including the Kamet, Trishul, Shivling, etc which are all above 6,000m in height. Some of the best known glaciers too fall within the State, e.g., Pindari and Milam glaciers.

Home to India’s most prominent rivers, the Ganga and Yamuna, the State also has other important rivers. These are the Alaknanda and the Bhagirathi (tributaries of the Ganga, which have their origins in the mountains bordering Tibet) Kali, Ramganga, Saryu, Pindar, Malini, Rawasain, Khoh andNayar. The Tons River and the Yamuna separate the Garhwal and Kumaon from the Kinnaur and Sirmaur districts of Himachal Pradesh, while the Mahakali River forms a natural boundary with Nepal in the west. With the rivers come dramatic valleys, best known amongst which are Valley of Flowers and Har-ki-Dun.

According to experts, despite the lack of the highest peaks in the world, the natural resources and attractions of Uttaranchal are on level, if not better than those of Nepal and are far superior to the natural beauty of Himachal Pradesh. With many of the important peaks in the region higher than 7000m, it has some of the best mountaineering. The peaks, glaciers and valleys, together with the unique religious, cultural and social diversity of the people living in these hills, have long attracted adventure seekers to Uttaranchal. The State boasts some of the best known trekking routes in the country including the trek to Pindari Glacier, the Harki-Dun trek, the Yamunotri – Gangotri trek and the Nehru-Curzon trail.

Society and culture

Uttaranchal, largely due to inhospitable terrain, is sparsely populated except in the terai region.Traditionally a pastoral society, like much of the Himalayan region, the inhabitants make their living from subsistence farming and limited animal husbandry that the hilly land supports. Some of the tribes, such as the Bhotias, are migratory traders. Most of the indigenous people like Jaunsari, Bhotia, Buksha, Tharu, and Raji are heterodox Hindus and Buddhists, while Sikh migrants from West Punjab have settled in the terai since 1947. A few Muslim groups are also native to the area, although most of them have settled recently. The Muslim Gujjar herders of the region migrate between the hills and the terai. While not traditionally an artistic society, the region is known for two major art forms, stone and wood carving. The art of stone carving gradually died down, but woodcarving continued and could be seen on almost every door of a traditional Garhwali house until only half a century ago. Wood carving can still be seen in hundreds of temple across Garhwal. The remains of architectural work have been found at the Chandpur Fort, the temple of Srinagar, Pandukeshwar (near Badrinath), Devi Mandir (near Joshimath) and Devalgarh Temple.

Physical Appearance

Uttaranchal, in the north of India, is bound by Uttar Pradesh in the south and the west, by Himachal Pradesh in the north-west and by China (Tibet) and Nepal in the east. Uttaranchal, for reasons of geography, topography, migration and historical trading ties, shares a number of similarities with its mountain neighbours.

The population2 of Uttaranchal was estimated at 8.479mn in 2001, an overall decrease of 10% from the 1991 population of 8.583mn. The density of population3 in the State is 159persons/km2, which is markedly less than the country average of 324persons/km2. Dehradun, the provisional Capital of theState has a population of 447,808 in 2001, an increase of 177% over the 1991 figure of 270,159.


Defining the region: The State was created by incorporating eight of the north-western hill districts of the Uttar Pradesh State. These districts were Nainital, Almora, Pithoragarh, Dehradun, Uttarkashi, Tehri, Chamoli and Pauri. A further four districts were simultaneously created, those of Udham Singh Nagar, Bageshwar, Champawat and Rudraprayag. In addition, the district of Haridwar was added to the new State. Located to the north of the country, the State now has 13 districts, 49 tehsils, 10 sub tehsils, 97 Development Blocks, 71 towns and 15,793 villages. With an area of 53,483km2, the State occupies 1.7% of the total landmass of India.

Garhwal and Kumaon:-Uttaranchal essentially comprises the two distinct hill regions of Garhwal and Kumaon, connected by a stretch of flatlands at the base, called the terai. Garhwal, which contains the districts of Haridwar, Pauri Garhwal, Dehradun, Tehri Garhwal, Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi, is the more prominent of the two regions and more developed in terms of physical infrastructure. This is essentially because India’s two most important rivers (the Ganga and the Yamuna) originate here, and it also has India’s ‘Char Dham’ or the four holiest Hindu shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Aside from the char dham, Garhwal is best known for the tourist town of Mussoorie, the holy towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh (also the centre for white water rafting in north India), the ski resort of Auli, as well as Dehradun, the new State capital and centre for institutions and boarding schools in India.

Kumaon, the smaller of the two regions is less developed, especially in its higher reaches, and consists of the districts of Udhamsingh Nagar, Champawat, Nainital, Almora, Pithoragarh and Bageshwar. It is best known for the tourist town of Nainital, the Corbett National Park, the Nanda Devi peak, the Pindari glacier and the route to Kailash Mansarovar.