About Uttarakhand

The territory that is now Uttarakhand used to be part of the state of Uttar Pradesh prior to 1998 and comprised the Garhwal and Kumaon regions which were both part of the Tehri princely state. As a result of a people’s movement and agitation demanding this region to be declared a separate state, in November 2000, Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India.

The erstwhile hill kingdoms of Garhwal and Kumaon have diverse lingual and cultural influences due to the proximity of different neighbouring ethnic groups. However, the nature of their geography, economy, culture, language, and traditions are inseparable and complementary and created strong bonds between the two regions. These bonds formed the basis of the new political identity of Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand lies on the southern slope of the Himalaya range. 93% of the state is mountainous and forests cover 64%. Its geographic location makes Uttarakhand an extremely scenic state with abundant natural resources. Most of the northern parts of the state are part of Greater Himalaya ranges covered by the high Himalayan peaks and glaciers making it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in India. Among places that are most frequented are the Jim Corbett National Park (the oldest national park of India) at Ramnagar in Nainital District, Valley of Flowers National Park and Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli District, which together are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Rajaji National Park in Haridwar District, and Govind Pashu Vihar National Park and Gangotri National Park in Uttarkashi District.

Uttarakhand is also the spiritual capital of India, being home to many sacred Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Both rivers Ganga and Yamuna, sacred to the Hindus, originate in the glaciers of Uttarakhand. Gangotri and Yamunotri, the sources of both the Ganges and Yamuna fall in the upper reaches of the state and together with Badrinath (dedicated to Vishnu) and Kedarnath (dedicated to Shiva) form the Char Dham, one of Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious pilgrimage circuits. Haridwar, meaning "Gateway to God" is a prime Hindu destination. Haridwar hosts the Kumbha Mela every twelve years, in which millions of pilgrims take part from all parts of the India and the world. Rishikesh near Haridwar is known as the preeminent yoga center of India. The state has an abundance of temples and shrines, many dedicated to local deities or manifestations of Shiva and Durga, references to many of which can be found in Hindu scriptures and legends

Adventure and leisure seeking tourists are attracted to the hill stations of Nainital, Mussoorie, Almora, Kausani, Bhimtal and Ranikhet, various peaks in the Himalayas that are mountaineering destinations, white water rafting in the Ganges, and to one of India’s finest ski destination, Auli.

Uttarakhand is also renowned as an education hub being home to several important and prestigious educational institutions, including the oldest engineering colleges in Asia, the Indian Institute of Technology at Roorkee and Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology in Pantnagar, the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, Forest Research Institute in Dehradun, Govind Ballabh Pant Engineering College in Pauri and Kumaon Engineering College Dwarahat, Some of the well known day and boarding schools of Uttarakhand including St. Joseph's College (Nainital), The Doon School (Dehradun), Brightlands (Dehradun), St. Joseph's Academy (Dehradun), Woodstock School (Landour), St. George's College (Mussoorie), Delhi Public School (Ranipur, Haridwar) Sherwood College (Nainital), All Saints' College (Nainital), St. Mary's Convent (Nainital), Sainik School Ghorakhal near Bhowali and G D Birla Memorial School (Ranikhet).

Uttarakhand has always been home to places of worship and pilgrimage, hill stations, mountaineering peaks, majestic rivers, glaciers and prominent educational institutions. However, it is only after the creation of Uttarakhand that these aspects of Uttarakhand are gaining wider recognition the world over and wider public interest. Uttarakhand’s current status as an independent state gives it the opportunity to be better visible to the world and to let the rest of the world and its people be part of its existence and growth.