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Map of Uttarakhand (Source: India-WRIS)



The history of the region is older than that of the Ramayan and Mahabharata. It is a land of popular myths, like that of Lord Shiva appearing as Kirat, of Urvashi, Shakuntala and the Kauravas and Pandavas. The Uttarakhand of today and its culture is the sum total of these peoples experiences as mountain dwellers, with a unique insight into life derived from the belief in the divinity of the land they lived in.The Rishis and Munis made it the cradle of Indo-Aryan culture. Archaeological remains bear out the existence of early Vedic practices in the region. It is believed that the Pandavas roamed this land and that the Mahabharata, the world's longest epic, and possibly even the Ramayan, were composed here.With the coming to power of the BJP led NDA government at the Centre, and with Atal Behari Vajpayee as the Prime Minister, the UP State Reorganisation Bill, 2000, was introduced and enacted. Uttarakhand, the Twenty-Seventh State of the Indian Union, had become a reality. On November 9, 2000, the Government of the State took oath of office in Dehradun and the state came into formal existence.The hill people had won. They now confront another, even greater, challenge. They have to make Uttaranchal a model state of the Union, proving thereby that their demand was justified, and that the ordinary people are the only masters in a democracy.


Uttarakhand was formed on 9th November 2000. Uttrakhand is a part of the Western Himalayan ranges, which start from the Siwalik foothills to Greater Himalayas with Tibet as its north-eastern border. In the north-western corner of the state is Himachal Pradesh, Haryana in the west, Tibet China in north, Nepal in east and Uttar Pradesh surrounds western & southern boundary of the state. Dehradun is the state capital.


The state has two distinct climatic regions viz. the predominantly mountainous and the plain region. The climatic condition of the plains is very similar to its counterpart in the Gangetic plain i.e. tropical. Summer is scorching with temperature reaching above 40°C added with high humidity. Winter is chilly with temperatures dropping below 5°C. The Himalayan region has Alpine conditions characterized by cold winters with snowfall for quite a long time, good rainfall in the monsoon and mild summers. In the Himalayan region, climate varies with altitude. At about 2,000 meters, the average summer temperature is 18°C; at 4,500 meters, it is rarely above 0°C. In the valleys, summer temperature varies between 32°C and 38°C. The eastern Himalayas receive 1000 to 2000 mm precipitation, which is more than received in Western Himalayas and flash floods are common.

Water Resources

State is rich in water resources with many perennial rivers originating in the state. Ganges, Yamuna, Ramganga, Sharda and Kali are major river with many tributaries. Snow melt runoff has a major contribution in states water resources.


Uttarakhand a paradise for tourists lying in the north of the vast and beautiful expanse of India, cradled in the awesome beauty and calm serenity of the Stately Himalayas, Uttaranchal, the Devbhumi (Land of Gods) has attracted tourists and pilgrims from world over since time immemorial. Sacred pilgrimages of different religions including Haridwar and the world famous Char Dham or the four Hindu Pilgrimage destinations of Shri Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri the sacred Sikh pilgrimage of Hemkund, Lokpal, Nanakmatta and Meetha, Reetha Sahib and Piran Kaliyar have drawn pilgrims and seekers for spiritual fulfillment to Uttaranchal. The holy river Ganga and Yamuna have their sources in the hills within this State. The rich cultural traditions, the rare natural beauty and the cool and invigorating climate of this land of origin of the holy Ganga and Yamuna rivers have been its main attractions.Culturally, Uttaranchal has a rich and vibrant heritage. There are several local fairs and festivals like Jhanda Mela (Dehradun), Surkanda Devi Mela (Tehri Garhwal), Magh Mela (Uttarkashi), Nanda Devi Mela (Nanital), Chaiti Mela (Udham Singh Nagar), Purnagiri Mela (Champawat), Piran Kaliyar Mela (Haridwar), Joljivi Mela (Pithoragarh) and Uttarayani Mela (Bageshwar), indicative of the immense possibilites for cultural tourism in Uttarakhand.

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