Uttarakhand formerly known as Uttaranchal is a state in the northern part of India. It literally means the Northern Lands. It is often referred to as the Deva Bhumi (literally "Land of the Gods") due to a large number of Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres found throughout the state. Uttarakhand is a land of untouched natural beauty, sublime spirituality with towering Himalayan peaks that touch up-to 7,816 meters, which is the height of the Mount Nanda Devi. The Holy Ganges River originates in these lands from the Gangotri Glacier and emerges from its snout called Gaumukh or, the mouth of the holy cow.
With fabled stories of great explorations by famous Himalayan explorers like Eric Shipton, Christoph Von Furer-Heimendroff and Dr Tom George Longstaff especially, to penetrate the impenetrable Nanda Devi Sanctuary, this is one of the famous lands for early mountaineering and exploration expeditions. Both the regions of Kumaon and Garhwal boast of scintillating view of the Himalayas and also exhibits a cultural ethos which speaks of a simplistic and harmonic coexistence with nature.
Uttarakhand is a very popular pilgrimage site, as it is the originating spot of the Ganga and the Yamuna, two of the most sacred rivers for Hindus. Ancient temples, forest reserves, national parks, hill stations, and mountain peaks welcome you in the calm, cooling air of Uttarakhand. Mussoorie, Nainital, Dhanaulti, Lansdowne, Sattal, Almora, Kausani, Bhimtal, and Ranikhet are ever embracing hill stations in the state best for all kinds of trips.
The distinctive characteristic food of Uttarakhand lies in the way it is prepared- wood and charcoal are burnt which helps to keep the nutritional content intact. The food is simple, prepared with local ingredients, using herbs and spices which make the food highly energetic. The cooking methods here, are generally elaborate and time-consuming and make use of a generous dash of distinct spices.
The spirit of gratitude is seen in abundance in the people of Uttarakhand, their fairs and festivals clearly display their thankful hearts and zeal to conserve the surroundings. Some of the major festivals are- Holi, Ganga Dussehra, Kumbh Mela, Uttarayani Mela and Diwali.