Also known as ‘Devbhoomi’, which translates to ‘The Land of the Gods’, Uttarakhand is a place that absolutely lives upto its name. Apart from the numerous temples and pilgrimage spots, this land in the Garhwal Himalayas has snowy mountains, untamed wildlife, romantic hill stations, and of course, a vibrant culture.
One thing is certain; whenever you visit it will hold up to that name. So let's find out more about this literal heaven on earth with our picks of top 7 things to do in Uttarakhand!
Uttarakhand is a state of mountains, covering 86% of this state… and we all know, mountains call for camping! If you miss out on the opportunity to spend a night camping while in Uttarakhand, it's equivalent to not visiting the Eiffel Tower when in Paris! There are many beautiful places to camp in Uttarakhand, here are our favorites:
The Jim Corbett National Park is a popular destination for camping among tourists because of it's beautiful surroundings and rich wildlife. You can experience and explore the beautiful forests up close, and go on safaris through the tiger reserves and Corbett is especially famous for its elephant safaris which are just so awesome. The approximate cost of camping in Corbett is around INR 4,000 for a stay of 2-3 days per person. The best time to visit Corbett would be between November to June.
The skiing wonderland of Uttarakhand, Auli is a tourist hotspot throughout the year but its snow-draped hills are outstandingly more beautiful in winters. This beautiful meadow surrounded by oak and coniferous trees is a tourist attraction because of the picturesque views of the Himalayas it offers. Along with that, the stunning spots for sleeping under a starlit sky and the enormous amount of beautiful places to explore, and the abundance of winter activities to chime in while there make Auli worth visiting. A camp in Auli might cost you anywhere between INR 4,000 to 5,000 per person for approximately 3 days.
Also read: Skiing In Auli, Uttarakhand
‘Rishikesh’ translates to 'The one who controls senses', and this beautiful city will totally control yours! Rishikesh is one of the most famous pilgrimages in Uttarakhand and also famous for being one of the only three holy cities in India where you can witness the powerful, and beautiful Ganga Aarti which is performed every evening on the banks of the Ganges that flows through the city.
There are also many other unraveling activities such as river rafting and cliff jumps that you can enjoy in Rishikesh or just simply wake up at the crack of dawn and strengthen your spirits and body with some yoga! A camp in Rishikesh will cost around INR 2,500 to 3,000 for one night per person.
Crossed by the beautiful Himalayas, Uttarakhand is blessed with the richness of biodiversity. Apart from being a home to the oldest national park in India, the Jim Corbett National Park, it's also famous for various other national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
Established in 1936 as 'Hailey National Park' Corbett is home to the endangered species of tigers, the Bengal tiger. Not just that, this park is also blessed with over 500 different species of birds, almost 50 different species of animals, around 50 different types of trees and spread across 500 sq km covering a notable variety of altitudes and grasslands.
This national park is famous for being home to the royal animals, elephants. There are more than 500 elephants, 12 tigers, nearly 250 panthers, and many other animals like deer, sambar, gorals, wild boar, barking deer, sloth bears, and Himalayan black bear living in Rajaji National Park.
Have you ever wanted to visit a place resembling your Windows XP default wallpapers since you were a kid? This is the perfect place for you to live your Windows XP moment!
Valley Of Flowers National Park is exactly what it sounds like! It's a beautiful region famous for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and land draped in beautiful flora and fauna!
Planning a trek to the Valley Of Flowers? Learn all about it here!
This Devbhoomi has blessed us with hundreds of big and small beautiful temples to surrender ourselves into or just be mesmerized by their grandeur. Centuries-old temples still standing strong throughout the harsh weather changes and heavy snow, these religious, architectural, and artistic wonders give us the power to go on without letting tiny hurdles get to us.
One cannot talk about Uttarakhand without mentioning this glorious temple. Located at a height of over 3,583 meters, this temple is said to be more than 1,200 years old and built by Guru Adi Shankaracharya. Kedarnath is one of the only 12 Jyotirlingas (Cosmic Lights) of Lord Shiva in the world. Hence this temple is placed amongst the most respected and worshipped temples in the Hindu culture, which is evidenced by over 50,000 devotees visiting this temple each year. Kedarnath is located at a height of 3,583 meters. Every year nearly 50,000 devotees visit this beautiful temple to seek blessings from Lord Shiva.
The highest of the Panch Kedar temples (3,680 meters), this is the highest Shiva temple in the world and just like the Kedarnath temple, Tungnath is believed to be over a thousand years old too. Tungnath is said to be discovered by Guru Adi Shankaracharya. It lies atop the Chandranath Parvat.
Located on the banks of the Gomti River, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vaidyanatha (The Avatar of Lord Shiva as the god of physicians) and said to be built by the Katyuri Kings Of Kumaon in around 1150 CE.
Also read: Best Historical Places In Uttarakhand.
If you’re at a loss thinking about the adventurous things to do in Uttarakhand, remember that the mountains are the answer. So pack your backpacks and go trekking!
Situated at a height of over 3,000 meters, Nag Tibba is said to be one of the easiest treks to complete in Uttarakhand, this will be the perfect start for you if you are a beginner. The trek will begin from Pantwari village, which is about 85 km from Dehradun. You will be able to enjoy breathtaking views of Bandarpunch Peak, the Gangotri group of peaks, and the city of Dehradun.
Situated at a height of 3,566 meters, this is another easy trek for beginners. It has a lot to offer as it is a part of Govind National Park. So you get everything from picturesque views of the beautiful lush green mountains and chances of spotting various beautiful wild animals like deer, musk deer, and birds like golden eagles, Himalayan monals, etc. It is advised not to roam around by yourself and stay close to your group when on this trek.
First of all, don’t confuse it with the Kedarnath Temple! This trek would take you about 4-6 days to complete, but it’s great for beginners too. But keep in mind that climbing up the slope of the Himalayas will not be as easy. But you can be assured of meeting other trekkers (and not too many tourists) on this trail!
Also read: Wild Ways To Celebrate New Year In India.
The best way to get to know someone is by sharing a meal with them. All the adventurous things to do in Uttarakhand will surely leave you hungry. And even here, the state doesn’t disappoint!
The food of Uttarakhand is known for its simplicity and excellent nutritional benefits. Enjoying a plate of 'flamin' hot things' in a cold region such as Uttarakhand is the most comforting feeling.
This tasty journey brings us to the local delicacies of Uttarakhand such as:
A bowl of hot potato wedges seasoned with dry spices and served with Raita (a mix of cucumber, chili, and curd) on the side.
A dish made with roasted lentils and then ground to make a paste, which is later cooked in a pot with the simple tadka of oil and red chili, this is a quick mid-day snack or served as a quick bite at lunch or dinner.
A popular dessert in Garhwal, Uttarakhand this dish is prepared with Jhangore (a type of millet) and cooked with dry fruits adding taste and richness to its texture.
Also read: 6 Of The Most Challenging Treks In India.
Uttarakhand is famous for its lakes and rivers. So it is no surprise that water sports are a big thing there. You can enjoy various water sports in Uttarakhand. These include jet-skiing, water surfing, river rafting, banana ride, speed boating, scuba diving, and so on!
Perhaps you’re not one for thrills but would rather paddle away on a placid lake and drink in the surroundings. If so, head over to one of the lakes in Nainital and just relax in a watery paradise.
It’ll cost you just around INR 200.
Rappelling in itself is a thrilling activity but you know what can up the ante? Rappelling down a rapidly cascading waterfall! This is a unique activity that you can try in Chakrata, a town that’s about 85 km away from Dehradun. Waterfall rappelling will cost you about INR 600.
Rishikesh may be reputed for being the Yoga Captial Of The World but this is also an abode for river rafting! There are four rafting stretches here, and depending on your skill and ability, you could choose any of them. It’ll cost you anywhere between INR 500 to INR 2,500, and the best time to engage in this activity is from October to May.
Want to learn more about river rafting in Rishikesh? Click here!
Uttarakhand is a state of beauty as well as mystery. For those of you who love that adrenaline rush along your journey, these are the spooky places you can visit while traveling through the state of Uttarakhand:
Located in the Champawat district of Uttarakhand, this is said to be one of the most terrifying places in India. The locals say that this bungalow used to belong to a British family and was later converted into a hospital. A doctor that worked at this hospital claimed that he could predict the date of the death of patients. But in fact, he took the patients in a room called 'Mukti Kothari' (the room of freedom) and killed them in order to prove his predictions right. It is said that the ghosts of those patients still roam around the bungalow!
Savoy Hotel once used to be one of the most famous and reputed hotels in Mussoorie. But in 1911, one of the visitors, Madam Frances Garnett Orme (a British spiritualist) was found dead in her locked room and the post mortem report revealed that she was poisoned with strychnine. Years later the doctor who did the post mortem was found dead poisoned with the same. The case still remains unsolved, that is why it is said that she still roams around the hotel. It is said that she's still banging on the doors looking for her murderer.
Located in Mussoorie, this is often called the ‘Mine Of The Dead’. In the 1990s, thousands of workers started getting ill working there and a slight miscalculation took the lives of nearly 50,000 workers who kept digging lime in the suffocating atmosphere. They suddenly started coughing blood which ultimately choked them to death. The mine was shut down after this but the story continues as the locals report that the cries of those workers are still heard at night. It is said that a witch controls this place and roams around making mysterious accidents and mishaps happen around the area of the mine.
These are just a few of the things to do in Uttarakhand. There’s just so much more to this state and we wouldn’t be surprised if you’re already planning a trip to this state even as you’re returning home!
Also read: The Wildlife SOS In Agra.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Uttarakhand?
The months of March to April and September to October are the best times to visit Uttarakhand.
What Is Uttarakhand Famous For?
Uttarakhand is best known for its many Hindu pilgrimage sites like Haridwar, Kedarnath, and Rishikesh. In addition to that, its location in the Garhwal Himalayas makes it an ideal mountain destination with places including Nainital, Mussoorie, Mukteshwar, and Auli.
How Far Is Uttarakhand From Mumbai?
Uttarakhand is about 1,615 km away from Mumbai.
What Languages Are Spoken In Uttarakhand?
The primary language spoken in Uttarakhand is Hindi, and other languages spoken there are Garhwali, Kumaoni, and Jaunsari.
How Many Days Are Needed For A Uttarakhand Trip?
Although 3-4 days are enough to explore the main tourist attractions such as Nainital, Dehradun or Mussoorie, if you want to stay and explore the other beautiful destinations or enjoy activities such as camping or trekking, you'd need 10 to 11 days to explore Uttarakhand.
How Did Uttarakhand Get Its Name?
Uttarakhand word is derived from the word uttara which means north and khanda means land.
What Is The Old Name Of Uttarakhand?
Uttarakhand was earlier known by the name Uttaranchal.
Which Is The Largest Glacier In Uttarakhand?
The largest glacier in Uttarakhand is Gangotri Glacier.