Uttarakhand has an incredible amount to offer to all and sundry. An important center of Hindu religion and culture, Uttarakhand is called the Land of the Gods (Dev Bhoomi) because it is home to countless holy spots and shrines. Ganga and Yamuna, the two most revered rivers of India, originate from the Himalayan glaciers in Uttarakhand. The hilly terrains of Uttarakhand offer unmatched pristine landscapes. As much as 86% of the state’s area is mountainous and a total 70% area is under forest-cover – it is natural that Uttarakhand is a remarkable cornucopia of flora and fauna. The thick forest wrap makes it a suitable residence for some of the best National Parks and bird Sanctuaries globally, famous for some of the rarest of species of birds and animals. The twelve National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries cover 13.8 percent of the total area of the state. These parks and sanctuaries are located at different altitudes varying from 800 meters to the high altitude protected areas at 5400 meters. There are many world heritage sites showcasing natural wonders in Uttarakhand - The world famous Valley of the Flowers, the Nada Devi Biosphere and the Corbett National Park. A number of rare and endangered birds make Uttarakhand also a preferred destination for bird watchers.
Uttarakhand provides great opportunities for adventure sports like skiing and thrilling water sports. The state is an ideal venue for adventure seekers. Auli region offers one of the few and rare skiing possibilities in India. Uttarakhand offers a multitude of trekking possibilities - from mountaineering to trekking on high altitudes or hiking on unusual routes. The rich natural splendour of high altitudes makes trekking in Uttarakhand very special. Uttarakhand has a number of mountains peaks over 6000m, standing high among them is the Nanda Devi at 7816 m.
Uttarakhand has been the seat of Yoga-learning and one of its ancient cities on the bank of river Ganges – Rishikesh is popularly known as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’, jostling with backpackers and pilgrims seeking spiritual enlightenment. Rishikesh became world famous in 1968 when The Beatles came to stay at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram. It was here that they reputedly wrote most of the White Album. Who can forget the famous song ‘Dehra Dun’ written and sung by George Harrison? Today, Rishikesh is popular with both Western and domestic tourists and pilgrims.
Given the great multiplicity, Uttarakhand is the place where you could enjoy white-water rafting down the Ganga one day, trekking in the shadow of the Himalayas the next, put your feet up and relax in Raj-era hill stations, or ride an elephant and take your camera on a hunt for tigers at the Corbett or Rajaji National Parks.
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