Uttarakhand is popularly known as Dev Bhumi (The Land of Gods) as it is home to major pilgrimage destinations. Some of the Hinduism’s holiest sites are located here. The sacred river Ganga also originates from the state and along the river and its tributaries there are many holy towns which attracts hordes of tourists. In fact it would not be an exaggeration to say that among all the states of India, Uttarakhand has the amalgamation of some of the most important pilgrimage sites of the Hindu religion. The shrines of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath comprise the Char Dham Yatra, which is considered as must-visit for all the Hindus in their lifetime in order to achieve salvation.
If you think Uttarakhand is not only about pilgrimages, you couldn’t have been more wrong. Nature has showered Uttarakhand with abundant natural beauty and the state offers one of the most varied and holistic tourism experiences. The numerous hill stations of the state attract weary travelers from the plains and each hill station provides a unique experience. The state is home to some of the loftiest peaks of Himalayas and is a mountaineer’s paradise. But apart from mountaineering a lay traveler can simply adore the beauty of Himalayas for hours and hours together and still can’t get enough of it.
Uttarakhand also provides plenty of options to those interested in adventure sports. You can go river rafting at Shivpuri near Rishikesh or try your hands at skiing at Auli. Apart from these, other adventure sports options include rock climbing, rappelling, river crossing and trekking.
The rich flora and fauna of the state offer plethora of opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts. If you are lucky, you can view Bengal Tiger in its natural habitat at the Jim Corbett National park. Bird lovers can plan a trip to the Binsar Bird Sanctuary. Nature lovers can explore the fruit orchards of Ramgarh.
So what are you waiting for? Go, pack your bags and plan a trip to Uttarakhand.
Best Time to Visit Uttarakhand
If you are planning to visit Uttarakhand and wondering when to go to Uttarakhand, you are caught in a wrong dilemma. The state can be visited any time of the year and every season has something to offer depending upon your preferences and which part of the state you are visiting. Uttarakhand is primarily a hilly state barring a few tourist places, such as Haridwar, Rishikesh and Dehradun, which lie on the foothills.
Uttarakhand is famous for its hill stations; the major among them are Nainital, Mussoorie, Mukteshwar, Binsar and Ranikhet. During the summer season from May to July, the hill stations offer a welcome respite from the oppressive heat of the plains and attract visitors in droves from all over the India. Summer season is generally considered to be the best season to visit Uttarakhand. But, if you are someone who prefer solitude then summer season is not for you as all the hill stations are packed with tourists. In general, summer season is the peak tourist season in Uttarakhand.
Monsoon season in Uttarakhand coincide from July to September and it is advisable not to visit the state during this season. The state receives heavy rainfall during monsoon season and is prone to landslides, cloudbursts and floods. In recent years, natural disasters during monsoon season have resulted in lots of casualties.
Pilgrimages are a major draw in Uttarakhand and the pilgrimage season runs from May to October. Major pilgrimage in Uttarakhand is the Char Dham Yatra, which includes Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Hemkund Sahib is another pilgrimage, which is very popular among Sikh tourists. All these pilgrimages commences at the beginning of the summer season in May and end around Diwali in October-November.
Winters are very harsh in Uttarakhand and the winter season extends from mid-November to February. If you want to enjoy snowfall and indulge in adventure sports, such as skiing, then winter is the season for you to plan a trip to Uttarakhand. Auli is an important skiing destination in Uttarakhand, which is visited by many skiing enthusiasts during winters.
If you want to enjoy the clear views of snow-capped peaks of Himalayas, then March and October are the best months to visit Uttarakhand. During this time of year, skies are clear, weather is pleasant and one gets unforgettable views of the mighty Himalayas.
River rafting is a very popular activity in Rishikesh and if you want to do it, then the best time to visit Rishikesh is from late September to mid November and again from early March to the first week of May. River rafting does not take place during the monsoon months of July and August as the current is very fast and water level is very high.
For yoga enthusiasts, International Yoga Week is held annually at Rishikesh in February and is attended by people from all over the world. If you too want to learn a bit of yoga, then you can plan a trip accordingly.
In a nutshell, Uttarakhand is one of the very few Indian destinations that offer something in every season of the year.