Uttaranchal, also known as Uttarakhand is popular among world-wide tourists for its hill stations, varied topography and climate. It is also referred to as Land of Gods being home to several temples. Rich with the Himalayan topography, Uttaranchal has a large forest cover that is beautiful to explore in the spring season. Due to high elevations most parts of the state is cold during November-March. March-May is the spring season here with the Kumaon and Garhwal ranges being major hideouts for tourists. The Garhwal and Kumaon divisions of Uttaranchal have the highest number of hill stations widely acclaimed for adventure sports and scenic locales. Wildlife safari and adventure trips are also popular among visitors. Corbett National Park is located in the Kumaon range while the Nanda Devi National Park is the attraction in Garhwal range.
Vasant Panchami like in rest of northern India is also celebrated in the state of UIttarakhand. Marking the harbinger of joy, Goddess Saraswati is worshiped during this time. While the flavor of winter still exists, summer is far away.
When to go
March-November features a pleasant climate. Summers are often hot in the plains with temperature touching even 38 degree Celsius. Though winter is preferred by honeymoon couples and adventurous tourists willing to indulge in skiing and trekking.
What to Visit
Jim Corbett National Park – You can explore the wildlife of Uttarakhand at its best during the vibrant spring season. India’s first declared national park, Corbett is famous for its tiger reserve and forest cover. You would be reminded of Jim Corbett’s famous book, The Man eaters of Kumaon.
Dehradun – An important hill station in the Garhwal range, Dehradun is around 230 km drive from New Delhi and close to Haridwar and Rishikesh. Mussoorie, Chakrata and Landour are popular weekend getaways from here.
Rudraprayag – Bounded by Uttarkashi, Pauri Garhwal and Chamoli districts, Rudraprayag is well known for its temples such as Shri Kedarnath shrine and gaurikhund. The Mandakini river flowing through this district of immense religious significance to the Hindus.
Nainital – Another prominent hill retreat in the Kumaon division, Nainital is known for its lakes and beauty of the surrounding peaks. With a height of 2,084 meters above sea level, the main attraction here is the Naini Lake situated at the heart of the town. Spring is a lovely time to enjoy boating at this lake and also in the two other lakes of Nakuchia and Bhimtal. You can also visit the Naina Peak, Naini Devi Temple and Snow View Point.
Uttarkashi – You will experience the ultimate religious fervor of Uttaranchal here. It is an important Hindu pilgrimage site and thousands of devotees visit every year. Just like Varanasi, there is a Vishwanath Temple here as well dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Places to stay
There are hotels and resorts in Dehradun, Nainital, Mussoorie and Haridwar hill towns accommodating both pilgrims and tourists throughout the year. Almora, Kasauni and Lansdowne also have budget and luxury hotels in large numbers. You need to get bookings done early especially in the peak season. There is a dearth of hotels in Haridwar during the Kumbh Mela. You can stay at the Avalon Resorts, Emerald Heights and Filigree in Mussorie. In Lansdowne, Blue Pine Resort, Fairydale Resort and Forest Palace are the best places to stay. Get online booking done for hotels in Haridwar, Dehradun and Rishikesh with indianholiday.com.
The best form of entertainment in the hills of Uttaranchal is adventure sports such as trekking, skiing and water rafting. The many national parks in the state also facilitates wildlife safari tours.
Woodcraft and carving is an important industry in the state. You can buy handicrafts and woolen garments as well from the markets in Dehradun such as Sahakari Bazaar, Ashley Hall and Paltan Bazaar. Badrinath markets are seasonal and closed during snowfall. Pilgrims usually purchase idols and images of Shiva.
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