Uttrakhand

Uttarakhand is a region of outstanding natural beauty. Nestled between Nepal and China in north, Himachal in the west and Uttar Pradesh in the south, most of the northern parts of the state are part of Greater Himalaya ranges, covered by the high Himalayan peaks and glaciers, while the lower foothills were densely forested till denuded by the British log merchants and forest contractors after independence. Recent efforts in forestation, however, have been successful in restoring the situation to a large extent. The unique Himalayan ecosystem plays host to a large number of animals (including bharal, snow leopards, leopards and tigers), plants and rare herbs. Two of India's mightiest rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna take birth in the glaciers of Uttarakhand, and are fed by myriad lakes, glacial melts and streams in the region.

There are a number of national parks in Uttarakhand including the Jim Corbett National Park (the oldest national park of India), Valley of Flowers National Park and Nanda Devi National Park being the main ones. The unsurpassed beauty of Uttarakhand hills make it the most sought after destination for tourists from all across the country and abroad.

The state comprises of two regions, the western half known as Garhwal and the eastern region going by the name of Kumaon, the two having different chieftains in history and different lingual and cultural influences due to proximity and neighbourhood of different cultures. The inseparable and complementary nature of their geography, economy, culture, language and traditions, however, has created strong bondages between the two regions.

From a travel perspective, the Garhwal side experienced a cataclysmic cloudburst in mid-June 2013. A lot of road & tourist infrastructure was simply washed away and it is quite uncertain as to when normalcy would be restored to the full confidence of travelers and the tourism trade. Kumaon was totally unaffected and this is the part of Uttarakhand to visit, till perhaps 2015. It has some of the most stunning mountain landscapes & locales in the Himalayas. While in most other Himalayan regions the drive through the foot hills to the higher, little disturbed reaches can be quite strenuous, in Kumaon you’d reach tranquil mountain paradises of the higher Himalayas within a drive of 5- 6 hrs. Another unique aspect is that the forest clad hillside in Kumaon has an unusually high density of exotic Himalayan fauna, both avian and mammalian. In fact even leopard sightings are quite common- you will drive past a lot of signage which read: LEOPARDS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY. This exciting wildness stays with you even at the properties you stay at – many are within designated wildlife Sanctuaries. Most scintillating and unique is the sheer majesty and arc of the Himalayan Snow Peak views, it is simply mesmeric, matchless on every count: the no of peaks, the colours and the apparent proximity. Once you’ve seen a Kumaoni sunset or sunrise, we assure you that you’d make sure that you don’t miss out on even a single one over the rest of your stay. Add to this the small quaint traditional hill settlements that are scattered around unobtrusively on the hillside & the simple inhabitants living a life in harmony with natural elements, their culture, architecture and lifestyle; the beautiful terraced fields, the ancient temples hidden away in the jungles of these mountains…and the prospect of sighting a tiger in Corbett National Park: there you have an unforgettable Himalayan experience.

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