Uttarakhand - Places of Tourist Interest
Uttarakhand, formerly Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of the India. It is often referred to as the "Land of the Gods" due to the many holy Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres found throughout the state. Uttarakhand is mainly known for its natural beauty of the Himalayas, the Bhabhar and the Terai. On 9 November 2000, this 27th state of the Republic of India was carved out of the Himalayan and adjoining northwestern districts of Uttar Pradesh. It borders the Tibet Autonomous Region on the north; the Mahakali Zone of the Far-Western Region, Nepal on the east; and the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south and Himachal Pradesh to the northwest. The state is divided into two divisions, Garhwal and Kumaon, with a total of 13 districts. The capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun, the largest city in the region, which is also a railhead.
Shivalik Valley Resorts proudly present some of the best holiday and pilgrimage tours in Uttarakhand.
Haridwar, lying at the feet of Shiva's hills, i.e., Shivalik, is the district headquarter of Uttarakhand , is a doorway to Himalayas. Suryavanshi prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to the curse of sage Kapila. The penance was answered and the River Ganga trickled forth from Lord Shiva's locks and its bountiful water revived the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara. In the tradition of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their departed elder. It is doorway to the sources of the Ganga and the Yamuna, 3000 to 4500 meters up into the snowy ranges of the Central Himalayas. The 'Aarti' worship of the Ganges after sunset and the floating 'Deepaks' is a moving ritual.
"Hṛṣīkeśa" ( हृषीकेश) is a name of Vishnu that means 'lord of the senses. The root words Hrishik and ish join together to make Hrishikesh. Hrishik means Senses and ish means master or Lord. Hence the word means Lord of Senses or Lord Vishnu. The place gets its name after Lord Vishnu who appeared to 'Raibhya Rishi' as a result of his tapasya (austerities), as Lord Hrishikesh. In Skanda Purana, this area is known as 'Kubjamrak' as Lord Vishnu appeared under a mango tree. Another legend says that fierce fire broke out here. Lord Shankar was angry with Lord Agni and cursed him. Then Lord Agni prayed here for the forgiveness of his sins. Hence it is also known as Agni-Tirth : The holy place to penance of Lord Agni or Fire God.
At a distance of 94 KMs from Haridwar at the height of 580 Meters height of sea level Devprayag is the confluence place of Holy Rivers Bhagirathi & Alaknanda. One can see the confluence of both rivers, which meet here in different colors & Holy River Ganges come in to the effect. The view of confluence of rivers is a real cool feeling. Devprayag is situated in Tehri Garhwal district and some part of Devprayag comes under Pauri Garhwal district. Devprayag is the last prayag (confluence) of Alaknanda River and from this point the confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi River is known as Holy Ganges. The town lies on the Rishikesh-Badrinath highway.
Rudraprayag is one of the Panch Prayag (five confluences) of Alaknanda River, the point of confluence of rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini. Alaknanda then proceeds towards Devprayag where it joins Bhagirathi river to form the Holy River Ganges. Kedarnath, a Hindu Holy Temple Town is located in Rudraprayag District & is 86 km from Rudraprayag town. Rudraprayag is also known for its infamous man-eating leopard (Leopard of Rudraprayag) which is reputed to have killed over 125 people, hunted by Jim Corbett.
Gaurikund is the commencement point of the trek of 14kms to the sacred shrine of Kedarnath. It is situated at an elevation of 1,982mts above sea level. The place is named after Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva and a temple Gauri is also situated here. According to myths and legends this is the place where Goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva did penance involving ascetic and yoga practices to win over Shiva's heart. It is believed that Lord Shiva accepted to marry Parvati at this place and married her in Trijuginarayan. The place offers vivid greenery with Vasuki Ganga flowing from below. It is located amidst lush green forest offering serene environs and panoramic views. Gaurikund is situated 28kms from Ukhimath. This quaint little hamlet is named after a thermal spring.
According to myths and legends this is the place where Goddess Parvati was taking a bath and Lord Ganesha was at the door. Lord Ganesha did'nt let Lord Shiva enter the kund and in furious anger he chopped the head of Ganesha. It was later restored with the head of an elephant.
The word "Triyugi Narayan" is formed of three words "tri" means three, "yugi" denotes the period of time - Yuga and"Narayan" is another name of Vishnu. Pilgrims have been offering wood to the fire in the havana-kund (fireplace) since the three Yugas - hence the place is given the name "Triyugi Narayan". Yuga in Hindu philosophy is the name of an epoch or era within a cycle of four ages. The four Yugas are Satya Yuga (1,728,000 human years), Treta Yuga (1,296,000 years), the Dvapara Yuga (864,000 years) and finally Kali Yuga (432,000 years), which is the present Yuga. The name "Akhand Dhuni temple" also originates from the eternal flame legend, "Akhand" means perpetual and "Dhuni" means flame.
Ukhimath is situated at an elevation of 1,317mts above sea level in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand state. Ukhimath is also written as Okhimath sometimes. Ukhimath is the home of Lord Kedarnath and Madhyamaheshwar during winters. Worship is performed at the Omkareshwar Temple here during winters, when the temple of Kedarnath remains closed. Ukhimath is mainly inhabited by the Rawal's who are the head priests (pundits) of Kedarnath. Snow capped peaks of the splendid Himalayan range are distinctly visible from Ukhimath.
Chotpta, popularly known as "Switzerland of India", itself offers splendid views of the imposing Himalayan range including Trishul, Nanda Devi and Chaukhamba. It is located at an elevation of 2680mts above sea level. During winters 4' to 6' snow fall is recorded here. Snow activities are carried out during the snow period by 'Shivalik Valley Resorts'. Chopta is rich in varied flora and fauna. Chopta is situated amidst thick forest of pine, deodar and rhododendrons. This place is a picturesque hamlet which is still unexplored by travelers. Chopta is the commencement point of the trek to Tungnath – 3rd Kedar. Another 1.5 km trek from Tungnath leads to Chandrashila (4000mts above sea level) which offers a splendid view of snow clad Himalayan peaks including Nanda Devi, Trishul and Chaukhamba stretched widely.
Deoria Tal is an emerald lake perched at an elevation of 2,438 mts above sea level. During early morning on a clear day, Devariya Tal blesses the tourists with reflections of Chaukhamba peaks on its crystal clear water. At Deoria Tal one can experience the best of two worlds, the first one being the real world and the other one being the reflection of the beautiful surroundings on the lake. Devariya Tal is also written as Deoria Tal.
The lake is situated amidst lush green inclined field surrounded by dense trees. Deoria Tal serves as a popular trekking destination in the region because of its ease of access and soothing scenic beauty. Deoria Tal lies in the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary. Deoria Tal has mythological connection with the epic Mahabharata. Devariya Tal is the place where Yaksha asked the Pandavas to answer his questions before drinking the water of the lake. Due to its mythical background, this region possesses some magical beauty until now.