Uttarakhand was formed on the 9th November 2000 as the 27th State of India, when it was carved out of northern Uttar Pradesh. Located at the foothills of the Himalayan mountain ranges, it is largely a hilly State, having international boundaries with China (Tibet) in the north and Nepal in the east. On its north-west lies Himachal Pradesh, while on the south is Uttar Pradesh. It is rich in natural resources especially water and forests with many glaciers, rivers, dense forests and snow-clad mountain peaks. Char-dhams, the four most sacred and revered Hindu temples of Badrinath,Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are nestled in the mighty mountains. It’s truly God’s Land (Dev Bhoomi). Dehradun is the Capital of Uttarakhand. It is one of the most beautiful resort in the submountain tracts of India, known for its scenic surroundings. The town lies in the Dun Valley, on the watershed of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.
It is blessed with a rare bio-diversity, inter-alia, 175 rare species of aromatic & medicinal plants are found in the State. It has almost all major climatic zones, making it amenable to a variety of commercial opportunities in horticulture, floriculture and agriculture. It has a vast tourism potential in adventure, leisure, and eco-tourism.
The State is rich in mineral deposits like limestone, marble, rock phosphate, dolomite, magnesite, copper, gypsum, etc. The number of small scale industries is 25,294 providing employment to 63,599 persons. As many as 1802 heavy and medium industries with an investment of Rs 20,000 crore employ 5 lakh persons. Most of the industries are forest-based. There is a total of 54,047 handicraft units in the state.
Uttaranchal has 14 districts: Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudra Prayag, Tehri Garhwal, Dehradun, Pauri Garhwal, Pithoragarh, Champawat, Almora, Bageshwar, Nainital, Udhamsingh Nagar and Hardwar.
Uttaranchal is situated at coordinates 30.19Â° N and 78.04Â° 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 40Â°C mark and a lot of humidity. Winters can be chilly with temperatures going below 5Â°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.
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.
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.
Langauges spoken here are Garhwali, Kumaoni, Jaunsari and Hindi.
Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Panchkedar, Panchbadri, Panchprayag, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Hemkund Sahib, Purnagiri, Chittai, Kaliyar Sharif, Nanakmatta Sahib, Rettha Sahib etc.
Nainital, Mussoorie, Pauri, Almora, Ranikhet, Khirsu, Champawat, Dayara, Auli, Khatling, Bedni Bugyal, Valley Of Flowers, Lansdown, Lakhamandal, Paataal Bhuvaneshwar, Gangolihaat, Jolljivi, Kataarmal, Kosani, Jageshwar, Dwarahaat, Someshwar, Baijnath, Pindari Glacier etc.
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
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.
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.
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.