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Garhwal Trek "Thank you for the amazing trek. It was, for sure, one of my life's greatest adventures. We were lucky to see the Snow Bear and to go through many villages. The beautiful mountains, the people and the organization were all good, but most of all I would like to say that without Dipen (Guide) this trek would not be nearly as good as it was with him! His experience, calmness and knowledge are great. Dipen is by far the best guide I have traveled with." Andreas Gleason, Vancouver, Canada
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In Sanskrit the name Himalaya means 'Abode of Snow' truly characterizing the vast permanent snowfields of the region. In the heart of these majestic mountains lies the state of Uttaranchal with the Kumaon hills in its east and the Garhwal hills in the west. Uttaranchal is the 27th state of the Republic of India and was formed on 9th Nov 2000. It was carved out of Uttar Pradesh after a long struggle of the Uttaranchali people. Together Garhwal and Kumaon form a sizable wedge in the Central Himalayas, joining Himachal Pradesh in the northwest, Uttar Pradesh in the south and international borders with Nepal and China. The city of Dehradun has been declared as the interim capital of the new state. Though the debate on making Gairsain as the new capital is still on.

The State today with 13 Districts can be grouped into three distinct geographical regions, the High mountain region, the Mid-mountain region and the Terai region. Dehradun is the interim-capital city. Uttaranchal consists of 13 districts viz., Almora, Pauri Garhwal, Tehri Garhwal, Bageshwar, Chamoli, Haridwar, Champawat, Nainital, Dehradun, Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarkashi, Pithoragarh, Rudraprayag.

Once known as Uttarakhand, the 'Northern Territories' of the pre-Vedic era, this is the domain of the ascetic Lord Shiva, the destroyer and re-creator; it is a land charged with Shakti, the power and energy of goddess Parvati, the consort of Shiva. The earliest historical references to the region are found in the Vedas, paeans to the purity of the Himalayas. Specific mention of the mountains exists in the Mahabharata, dated to about 1000 BC, when the protagonists of the epic, the Pandava Brothers, are said to have ended their life on earth by ascending the slopes of a peak in western Garhwal called Swargarohini, literally meaning the 'Ascent to Heaven'. The epic also mentions this region as the home of the Kirata, Pulinda and Tangara tribes.

Nature has endowed this region with so much beauty and spiritual bliss that the place is also known as 'Dev Bhoomi' or the Abode of Gods. Blessed with magnificent glaciers, sparkling and joyful rivers, gigantic and ecstatic Himalayan peaks, natural biosphere, valley of flowers, skiing slopes and dense forests, this Abode includes many shrines and places of pilgrimage. The four most sacred and revered Hindu temples, namely Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are nestled in these Mighty Mountains. This is the land where Vedas and Shastras (Holy Scriptures) were composed and the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata was written. The land has always been the source of inspiration for nature lovers and seekers of peace and spirituality.

Garhwal today remains a land of myth and legend, where every stone tells a story. Kumaon, which lies almost south to the great Himalayan range, is moderate in its constitution. The lie of its land is gentler in its undulations, its lore more lyrical. What permeates the open valleys is a simpler, singular faith in the presiding deity of Kumaon, Nanda Devi, the goddess of Bliss. The graceful peak of Nanda Devi, is visible from almost everywhere in Kumaon. Other famous peaks of Uttaranchal are the Kedarnath, Nilkantha, Trishul, Bandarpunch and Mt. Kamet. The major Glaciers include Gangotri, Pindari, Milam and Khatling. The scenic northwestern corner has hill stations sprinkled along the foothills of the Himalayas with many rivers, tributaries and streams. It offers some excellent trekking and river rafting opportunities. For an Indian, a venture into the Himalayas is more than a mere journey; it is a Yatra. And a pilgrimage does not hold more importance than it does in Garhwal and Kumaon.

The city of Dehradun, has been declared as the interim capital of the new state. Though the debate on making Gairsain as the new capital is still on.
Dehradun is situated at the Himalayan foothills in the fertile Doon Valley. The valley is well known for its salubrious climate and natural beauty. It is due to this reason, Dehradun has been one of the favorite residential cities. It is also an important educational centres of the country. Some of the best public schools and convents are housed here.The Indian Military Academy, The Froest Research Institute, the Oil and Natural Gas comission and many more offices of Central and State Govt. are also situated here. Dehradun is one of the most important town in the new state and is well linked with rail, road and air routes to all the parts of the country.

General Information
The population of the state is around 7 million. The land area is about 55,845 sq km. The region is mostly hilly (approx 88 percent) and the remaining 12 percent falls in the plains.The state is very rich in natural resources especially water and forests as it has many glaciers, rivers, forests, mountain peaks. The famous peaks of Uttaranchal are Nanda Devi, Kedarnath, Trishul, Bandarpunch and Mt Kamet. The major Glaciers include Gangotri, Pindari, Milam and Khatling. The Ganga, The Yamuna, Ramganga and Sharda are principal rivers of this region.
Uttaranchal is situated in the northwest portion of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state. Uttaranchal borders Tibet, Nepal, Himachal Pradesh, and the UP plains districts. Dehradun, the Uttaranchal 's largest city is about 255 km away from India's capital, New Delhi, yet upon reaching the hills, the terrain and climate dramatically changes. Though patches of the dusty desert of the plains are encroaching on Uttaranchal, the region is still heavily forested and extremely hilly. The glaciers in the high hills of Uttaranchal are the source of the Yamuna and Ganges. India's highest peaks are in Uttaranchal and so are some of Hinduism's most sacred shrines. The Indian Himalayas are said to be the abode of the gods. Indeed, Shiva, his wife Parvati and her various manifestations, and Vishnu all reside in this breathtaking Himalayan region called Uttaranchal.

Physiology of Uttarnchal
Garhwal and Kumaon, the two main cultural and political divisions of Uttaranchal, can be divided into three physiological zones that span the full breadth of the Uttar Pradesh hills:

1 - Northern Zone in Uttaranchal :
Making up much of Uttar Kashi, Chamoli, and Pithoragarh districts, this range of Uttaranchal begins at 3000 metres and proceeds steeply at places to as high as 7600 metres.

2 - Mid Zone in Uttaranchal :
Proceeding from southern Uttar Kashi through Tehri, Chamoli, Almora, and Pithoragarh in Uttaranchal, here the slope rises to heights of 2000 to 3000 metres.

3 - Southern Zone in Uttaranchal:
Merging with the adjoining Terai, this area in Uttaranchal includes Dehradun, southern Garhwal (Pauri), and Nainital at around 600 to 2000 metres above sea level.

Highest Peaks of Uttaranchal
Nanda Devi (7,816 m)
Chaukhamba (7,138 m)
Satopanth (7,075 m)
Trisul (7,045 m)
Kedarnath (6,940 m)
Kamet (6,883 m)
Neelkanth (6,596 m)

River Systems in Uttaranchal
Yamuna - Tons
Bhagirathi - Bhilangana
Alaknanda - Mandakini / Pindar / Nandakini / Saraswati / Dhauliganga
Ramganga Kosi
MahaKali - Sarju / Gori / Dauli

Vegetation in Uttaranchal
Himalayan Cedar (deodar)
Himalayan Blue Pine (chir)
Oak (banj)
silver fir, spruce, chestnut, elm, poplar, white birch, silver birch, yew, cypress. rhododendrons

Prominent Places in Uttaranchal
Auli (Ski Resort)
Gaumukh (Cow's Mouth)
"Valley of the Flowers"
Roop Kund (Mystery Lake)
Dodital (Beautiful High Altitude Lake)
Harki Doon
Pindari Glacier (foot of Nanda Devi group of mountains), various Bugyals (lush mountain meadows)

Pilgrimage Spots in Uttaranchal
Badrinath (Vishnu)
Kedarnath (Shiva)
"Panch" Prayag
Hemkund (Sikh)
Sirkanda Devi Temple (Durga-Shakti)



Kuari Pass Trekking

Sources of Ganges Trekking

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