The state of Uttarakhand wears the iconic twin peaks of Nanda Devi like a crown. And indeed this famous image is a fitting highlight for a province that is filled with abundant nature, flora, and fauna. Two of the five traditional divisions of the Himalayan range are found in Uttarakhand – Garhwal and Kumaon.
COMMITMENT TO NATURE
Ensconced in the arms of the great Himalayas, it’s no wonder that this state is often affectionately called ‘The Land of Gods’. The state has declared 12 ‘Protected’ areas and this includes 6 National Parks and 6 Wildlife Sanctuaries. Almost 65% of the geographical area is forest area of which over 12% comes under the Protected Area Network. This exceeds the national average by a significant margin and is a reflection of the state government’s commitment to conservation. The Corbett National Park, established in 1936 is the first National Park on the Asian mainland. The Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, established under the “Man and Biosphere” UNESCO programme is also another important highlight.
IDEAL FOR ADVENTURE TRAVELLERS
If you’re the sort of traveller that likes to combine adventure travel with their love for nature, it doesn’t get much better than Uttarakhand. Trekking, high altitude camping, mountain biking, rock climbing and skiing in the winter months are just some of the activities at hand. Love birdwatching and photography? The sheer diversity of endemic flora and fauna will leave you spoiled for choice.
IT’S WORTH GOING OFF-THE-BEATEN-TRACK
The popular highlights of Uttarakhand are known to all, from the yoga haven of Rishikesh, and Haridwar to the vacationer’s favourite hub Mussoorie. There’s also Jim Corbett National Park, home to approximately 215 tigers. Take a moment to step away from the highlights, however, and the rewards multiply.
The region is home to several treks of varying grades. One of the highlights is the trek to the Valley of Flowers. If heaven on earth exists, it’s here. A world heritage site, in the aforementioned Nanda Devi Biosphere, this isn’t a trek for the fainthearted but it is entirely worth it. Valley of Flowers is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora and fauna. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, musk deer, brown bear, red fox, and blue sheep.
The state is home to about 102 species of mammals, 623 species of birds, 124 species of fish, 69 species of reptiles and 19 species of amphibians.
Other lesser-known highlights include Munsyari, a village that lies in the foothill of the Panchachuli peaks. This stunning region has downright breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks, Nanda Devi, Trishul and Panchachuli. If you’d like to embark on a multi-day trek, then Munsiyari is the perfect base. Then there’s Binsar, located at an altitude of 2520 metres, surrounded by the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. The proximity to nature and endless mountain views makes this erstwhile empire of the Chand kings of the 7th century, a destination worth putting on your list. Finally, a special mention to Kausani often called the Switzerland of India, this little town is home to ancient temples, fabulous views and is another great base for treks of varying grades.
The world hasn’t woken up to all of the myriads of secrets that are contained within Uttarakhand. Most of the time, it’s the same places that are visited over and over again. At Far Horizon, we’ve created a journey that takes in the popular sights but also makes sure you get to see the quaint little villages and natural beauty that introduce you to the real living cultures of India.
Please feel free to reach out to us for a detailed Uttarakhand Itinerary or have us tailor-make you a journey based on your preferences.