Uttarakhand is probably the most blessed state in India when it comes to natural and divine beauty. This is the reason why it is called Dev Bhoomi, which translates into Land of Gods. Uttarakhand is divided into two main regions, Garhwal in the North, and Kumaon in the South. The state of Uttarakhand is home to many hill stations, temples, spiritual retreats, and lush green landscapes. Himalayan ranges that pass through Uttarakhand gives it a terrain of being Mountainous region.
Uttarakhand is an ideal place to visit if you are seeking some unspoiled beauty. Apart from the commercially well known tourist destinations it also houses some of the offbeat places that are a must visit if you like the mountains.
In this blog we have listed some of the best places in Uttarakhand that you must visit, least once in a lifetime. If there could be a perfect blend of natural beauty and spiritualism, then this is it.
Mussoorie is unarguably one of the most popular hill stations in Uttarakhand and even in the North India. It serves as a quick getaway weekend destination for people in Delhi and Punjab. It has earned itself a name of Queen of the Hills. In summers visiting this place is pleasant and in winters this place might chill you. It was found by Captain Young of British Army in 1820’s and has been a summer getaway for British officers during the colonial times. It is a preferred destination for both family travelers and couple travelers. This hill station offers perfect views of the Himalayas.
When you visit Mussoorie you must take a walk on the popular Mall Road, you must visit the Lal Tibba which is the highest peak in the town, you must witness the beauty of Kempty Falls, and you must indulge in the beauty of the company gardens. You might also bump into popular author Ruskin Bond who has made Mussoorie as his adobe.
The hill station also offers many avenues for trekking, rock climbing and hiking. During winters if you visit this place then you might also encounter snow at a stone’s throw from the town.
Nainital is surrounded by mountains and offers breathtaking views of the Himalayan Peaks. It is also home to many pristine lakes including the Naini Lake, and is also known as the Lake District of India. The town gets its name from the Naini Lake. The colorful markets of Nainital are must visit. Geographically Nainital is located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. In summers it gets very crowded with people from all across the North India visiting this hill station.
The popular Mall Road of Nainital is a must go and is dotted with numerous restaurants, shopping stores, and hotels. When in Nainital you must indulge in boating in Naini Lake, you must go on trekking in the neighboring region, pay a pilgrimage visit to Naina Devi Temple, and see the Raj Bhawan.
Nainital also offers avenue for Ropeway rides, and avenues for mountaineering. In Mall road you can also shop for Souvenirs, for friends and family.
Rishikesh is located on the banks of River Ganges and is a pilgrimage site for Hindus. Apart from the religious aspect Rishikesh is also known for its retreats of Yoga and Meditation. In fact Rishikesh is known as the Yoga Capital of the world. The Ganga Arti of the evening in Rishikesh is a sight to behold and devotees indulge in it with all their faith. When in Rishikesh you must also visit the Beetles Ashram which still has the graffiti on its wall and is completely Instagram worthy.
Apart from the religious and spiritual side of the Rishikesh, it also is popular amidst the young masses for its adventure sports avenue. The white river rafting in Rishikesh is popular all across India. It also has many avenues for river side camping and indulging in bon fires during evenings.
When in Rishikesh you must also visit the Lakshman Jhula Bridge which is very popular amidst Hindu Devotees. You must also visit the Neer Garh Waterfall and Triveni Ghat.
Haridwar is one of the most popular Hindu pilgrimage site in Uttarakhand. It is located on the banks of River Ganges and is also known as the gateway of gods. Haridwar is the starting point of the journey to the Char Dham sites of Uttarakhand. Haridwar is home to numerous temples and devotees visit this place to wash their sins. The evening Ganga Arti of Haridwar is a must have experience, and it looks totally divine to see those lamps in the hues of the evening.
When in Haridwar you must also visit the Har Ki Pauri which is the most popular spot to take a dip in holy river Ganges. Some other holy Hindu sites to visit in Haridwar are Manasa Devi Temple, and Chandi Devi Temple. It is to be noted that Haridwar is also one of sites that hosts the popular Kumbh Mela.
Haridwar is located in the close proximity to Rishikesh and when visiting any of these two place you can wrap up the other place in just an hour’s drive.
Ranikhet translates into Land of the Queen, and it lives by its name. The town is rich in natural beauty, and has many avenues for bird watching, perfect for people who are spell bounded by Wildlife, it also has many avenues for rock climbing and hiking. Ranikhet is also known for its Colonial charm. Still to this date you will find many stone buildings darting back to the British era, which add an additional beauty to this small town. The town is also home to many temples that must be on your itinerary.
When visiting Ranikhet, you must indulge in taking breath taking views of the Trishul Peak. If you are on a lazy holiday then a perfect way to add some zing in your holiday can be done by fishing in the Bhalu Dam. You must also see the Holm Farm which has a beauty of its own.
Ranikhet is also home to one of the Asia’s highest golf courses. There are many orchards in Ranikhet where you can take a tour. If you are an adventure seeker you can indulge in Paragliding.
Auli is a hill station that is located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. It offers an unmatched experience of snow capped mountains and views of Nanda Devi Peak of the Himalayas. The hill station is covered with coniferous and oak trees that add charm to its beauty. Apart from being a touristy hill station Auli is more popular for being a ski destination. The hill station also has cable car connectivity over the snowy slopes. It is also home to the longest cable car ride in India.
When in Auli you must visit the Auli Artificial lake, and the Kauri Pass which is a great avenue for trekking which also passes through the scenic Nanda Devi National Park. Another must see is Chhatrakund Lake which also involves hiking, and is a great photography spot.
If you are a snow enthusiast then Auli must be on your bucket list. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner in skiing but while visiting Auli you must indulge in skiing and snowboarding.
Jim Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett National Park is one of the most popular wildlife spot in Uttarakhand. It is the oldest national park of India and is known for its richness of tigers. It is spread across 520 square kilometers of area, and was named after a popular hunter who turned into an environmentalist Jim Corbett. The National Park is divided into 5 different zones out of which the most popular and the one with best views is the Dhikala, which is also an area with maximum probability of wildlife spotting.
In Jim Corbett you are likely to encounter animals such as Asiatic Elephants, Royal Bengal Tigers, Deer, and Bears. The National Park is also popular for bird watching activities. It is estimated that Jim Corbett National Park houses more than 600 species of birds.
Jim Corbett National Park is rich in flora and fauna, hence offers great avenues for photographers. You can explore the national park through Elephant safaris or through tours on jeeps.
Chopta is located in the Garhwal Himalayas between Kedarnath and Badrinath. Chopta is also referred as the Mini Switzerland of India. It offers views of lush green valleys, and snow capped peaks. The weather here in Chopta is pleasant all year round. The place is covered with forests of pine and deodar which adds beauty to it. Chopta is also a trekker’s paradise. It serves as the base point for the treks starting for Tunganath Temple and Chandrashila Summit.
Apart from the trekking avenues, Chopta is also popular for wildlife. People flock to Chopta for bird watching. It is estimated that Chopta houses around 240 species of birds. While here you can easily spot the Hill Partridge, Himalayan Griffon, and Monal.
If you seeking to spend some time in the mountains away from the crowds, then Chopta is the perfect destination where you should be headed to.
Almora which is the capital of the Kumaon region of the Uttarakhand was established as the summer capital by the Chand Dynasty in 1500’s. It is probably one of the Hill Stations of Uttarakhand that was not founded by the British rulers. The Hill Station of Almora also holds a religious importance for Hindu Devotees. Almora is home to many prominent temples that are frequented by Hindus from all across North India. It is home to Patal Devi Temple, Nanda Devi Temple, and Maa Dunagiri Temple.
Almora is rich in lush greenery, culinary treats, and has a rich cultural heritage that attracts visitors all year round. Almora is also a great place if you are looking for trekking avenues. When in Almora you can also go shopping for handicrafts, copper ware, and woolen clothes.
Zero Point is another must place visit in Almora which is precisely located in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, and is the highest point in Binsar. Sunrise and sun sets from here are truly magical.
This hill station was initially called as Kaludanda, but was renamed to Lansdowne in 1887 after the name of Lord Lansdowne. It is probably the quietest hill station in India. Lansdowne is the perfect blend of lush greenery, majestic mountains, and colonial charm. It is surrounded by pine forests and oak forests, which add beauty to this hill station. The hill station of Lansdowne also offers avenues for trekking, camping, and nature walks to admire the flora n fauna.
In Lansdowne you must also visit the Tip n Top which is also known by the name of Tiffin Top. It is a hill top which offers panoramic views of the Shivalik and Himalayan range. If you wish to go for Picnicking then Bhulla Lake can be a good spot, which also offers boating.
Garhwali Museum is another spot where you should make a stop. It has collections of arms, uniforms, guns, and old memorial pictures that will take you back in time of Garhwal regiment.
Kausani is probably one of the most scenic hill stations of Uttarakhand. The father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi, was so astounded by the beauty of Kausani, that he called it the Switzerland of India. Mahatma Gandhi had stayed here in Anashakti Ashram while he was writing his book Anashakti Yoga. Gandhi Ji stayed here for 14 days, and the white washed ashram has now become a tourist spot. The cottage is engraved with teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, and has writings of Gandhi Ji.
The views of snow clad hills from Kausani are picturesque. You can easily spot the peaks of Nanda Devi and Trishul. The hill station is surrounded with lush green coniferous forests. The Kausani Tea estate is another must visit place when in Kausani.
The Rudradhari waterfall and temple is another spot where you can unwind and refresh yourselves. The temple that is built near the waterfall worships Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
Valley of Flowers
There is no place as soothing and as refreshing as the Valley of Flowers National Park. It is located in the Chamoli District and is spread across 87 Square Kilometers. The place is situated at an altitude of 3600 meter above sea level. Valley of Flowers National Park is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The valley was discovered by British Mountaineer Frank S Smythe back in 1931. It is estimated that there are around 600 species of flowers in the Valley of Flowers National Park.
In Valley of flowers you will find different species of orchids, poppies, primulas, marigold and daisies. En route to Valley of Flowers you will also find waterfalls, glaciers, and forests, which makes it an ideal trekking location. Valley of Flowers is also a popular trekking location.
Apart from being rich in flora and fauna, Valley of Flowers is also home to wildlife. You can spot some of the gray langur or the flying squirrel, or the black bear, or the red fox or the snow leopard.
Have a top of the mountain holiday!