Best Travel Destinations in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand falls to the North of Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh with Nepal to its East and Tibet above it. If there is one thing you can say about Uttarakhand, it is that God was at his creative best in creating a magnificent countryside dotted with hills and mountains, gorges and ravines, undulating meadows and playfully winding rivers whose waters frolic and gambol on their way to the sea. Travel to this scenic destination is a journey of delight and sheer pleasure for the soul. It is veritably the Land of the Gods and the Switzerland of India.

The State has over 400 destinations to pick and choose from. If you like adventure sports, there are dozens of destinations for you. If you are religious, then your Chardham Yatra to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath starts and ends here. If you like peace and quiet, there are scores of quiet, secluded retreats where you can spend days communing with nature.

If you like ethnic diversity, there are flavors and colors of Kumaon and Garhwal to sample. With so many destinations available, it would be a difficult task to pack in as many as you can within the short time available to you. You could, however, start with the Valley of Flowers, an enchanting magical area that comes alive during spring, carpeting the land with 300 varieties of flowers and nature smiles benignly on you, letting you enjoy the colors and smells. Another equally alluring destination is Nainital, a quaintly charming British style resort built around the beautiful Naini Lake.

Uttarakhand offers Rishikesh and Haridwar for the spiritually inclined. Rishikesh is a center for yoga and is dotted with dozens of ashrams, a place redolent with spirituality at each turn. Haridwar is considered as one of the seven holiest of all places in India, a place where pilgrims bathe in the Ganges before undertaking their trip to Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. Gangotri is at a height of about 3048 meters and pilgrims pay their respects at the temple of Ganga Mata on the banks of the Bhagirathi River. From here you can go on to explore the Gaumukh glacier. Yamunotri is another holy destination at a height of 3293 meters with a temple dedicated to Yamuna Mata where pilgrims worship the Goddess and bathe in the hot springs. Kedarnath, at a height of 3584 meters is one of the sites of the 12 jyotirlingas with a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Badrinath in Chamoli at a height of 3133 meters is home to Lord Vishnu.

A visit to Uttarakhand would be incomplete without spending time at the Jim Corbett National Park, the oldest natural park, home to hundreds of species of birds, animals and plants. Jhirna is a popular bird watching spot in the sanctuary while Bijrani, a densely forested area is ideal to sight a tiger in natural settings. If you have had your fill of nature, then proceed to Dehradun, a modern hill station town with Ganga and Yamuna flowing to its east and west respectively. Dehradun offers the conveniences of city life and you can visit Sahastradhara springs and Tapkeshwar temple in the vicinity as also take a short trip to Rajaji National Park. Then you proceed to Mussoorie, another British hill station nestling in the foothills of the Shivalik and overlooking the Doon valley. If you love hill stations then you may want to explore Almora, Dharchula and Dhanaulti as well.

If it is adventure that lures you, Uttarakhand has plenty in store for you. You could go to Lansdowne, Pauri, Mori, Kalsi, Naukuchiata, Mori or Ramgarh from a dozen and kick-start your exploration of hills, valleys and forests or go white water rafting, paragliding or indulge yourself in mountain biking.

For whatever purpose you visit this lovely State, you are likely to fall in love with it and forever remain enchanted.

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