With its deep forests, snow-clad mountain peaks, rivers, waterfalls and glaciers, Uttarakhand is said to be the most pristine state of Northern India- it’s natural beauty appeals to many. It is not only a sight for sore eyes, but is also popular among religious people. The Char-dhams, which are the most sacred temples for Hindus are located in Uttarakhand. It has thus truly earned the title ‘The Land of Gods’. A little history lesson, it was a part of Northern Uttar Pradesh till November of 2000. It is a hilly region and shares borders with the neighbouring countries of Nepal and China (Tibet). Uttarakhand’s proximity to Delhi makes it perfect for vacation or even a weekend getaway. So, here we bring to you the perfect places to visit while you’re in the Land of Gods.
Rishikesh is one of the most famous cities of Uttarakhand. It is often said that it became famous after the visit of the Beatles in 1968. It is known as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’. This city is best if you just want to either want to relax, take a spiritual holiday, go for an adventurous trip, or all three at the same time. Adrenaline-loving people like to go River Rafting and Bungee Jumping in this state. It is the highest Bungee Jumping point in India- a total of 84 metres. Want to try their hands on Yoga? Rishikesh has many practitioners willing to teach you there.
If there are any Beatles fans out there visiting, Rishikesh has a Beatles Ashram, where they got most of their inspiration for songs from. This city has many more things to do, from sightseeing to cafe hopping.
Dehradun is surrounded by the mountains of Mussoorie and is the capital of the state. It is among the oldest cities of India, and is a popular pilgrimage spot of Haridwar and Rishikesh. It has several tourist spots, like Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple, Robbers Cave, Buddha Temple, Malsi Deer Park, and so on. Do make sure to take a short trip to Mussoorie and Rishikesh, which are only 34 km and 45 km respectively.
Mussoorie is a scenic hill station, a few hours from Dehradun. It is known as the ‘Queen of Hills’. Now this town has many tourist-y things to do. You can take a cable car to Gun Hill, walk along the Camel’s Back Road, visit Kempty Falls, or enjoy a horse ride to the highest peak in Mussoorie, the Lal Tibba. Visit the mall road of Mussoorie, which is the perfect place for shopping and eating. There are a few cafes around where you can sit and have coffee or enjoy the street food ranging from ice cream to Maggi and momos. One additional tip if you’re visiting the mall road, try spotting Ruskin Bond who lives nearby and likes to roam around the marketplace.
Nainital is again a popular weekend getaway spot for North-Indians. It has a beautiful lake known as Naini Lake where you can spend some time boating. You can also enjoy roaming the Mall Road and visiting restaurants and shops. Some also like to go riding on horseback to explore the forests of the surrounding areas. If you just want a quiet stay away from tourists, you can just go to Bhimtal, Ramgarh, Jeolikote, or Mukteshwar.
Haridwar is a popular pilgrimage site for Hindus. It is situated on the banks of the holy river Ganga- the perfect spot for taking a dip and enjoying a boat ride in the holy river. You can also attend evening Aarti at the ghat there. There is a very famous Kumbh Mela which is held there every 12 years.
- Jim Corbett National Park
This national park is named after the former hunter Jim Corbett, who turned into a conservationist later on and founded this national park. It is one of the most famous national parks in India. It is spread out over an area of 520 square kilometres, and has dense forests, lakes, hilly and marshy areas, and grasslands. You are allowed to stay overnight here too. You can explore and try your luck at sightseeing here on an elephant’s back, or on a Jeep. This National Park has species ranging from elephants and tigers to endemic species like Otters and fish eating crocodiles. Dhikala is the best zone in this national park. It has the most variety of species and is the most sought-after zone.
Auli is a charming hamlet surrounded by Himalayan mountain ranges. It is a popular skiing destination. January to March is the best time to visit Auli for skiing. You can also go trekking at the Kuari Pass trailhead. Auli is the best place for skiing as it has a long slope, chair lift, gondola and Poma ski lift.
Lansdowne is a quiet and small hill station of Uttarakhand. It is a unique hill station, as it is well connected but remote in its own way. It got its name from Lord Lansdowne, the then British Viceroy of India. This town reflects the colonial British architecture and is still visited by British tourists. As this place is unspoilt, you can find a variety of birds there. You can also go for a nature walk amidst the lush greenery. Tourists can also find themselves enjoying boating and paddling at the man made lake called Bhulla Lake.