Holiday Travel is popular for organizing a wide range of tour programs in the state of Uttarakhand. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a repeat visitor, we know what you would like to see and do. Our extensive experience has taught us so many things about the preferences of travelers, what they are passionate about, what they really like and what bothers them most. When it comes to planning family tours in Uttarakhand, we are even more careful. While organizing these tours, our biggest concern is the security of your family and dear ones. In addition to that, we always respect the sentiments of people and never try to hurt their feelings in any way.
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Uttarakhand, formerly known as Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of India. Popularly referred as the ‘Land of Gods’, Uttarakhand is the home of holy Hindu temples, auspicious places of pilgrimage and worship. Known for its natural beauty and wealth of the Himalayas, Uttarakhand is truly a paradise on earth with its fresh air, pure water, scenic beauty, and the chilling snow on mountains.
By Air: There are a couple of domestic airports in Uttarakhand: Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport, Pantnagar airport and Pithoragarh’s Naini Saini Airport. However, at the best of times, flights to all these airports are highly erratic, so it may be best to check if flights are operational.
By Rail:More than three-fourths of Uttarakhand lies in the mountains, consequently, the railway network is fairly meager. Important junctions include Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Nainital, Kotdwar, Kathgodam, Pauri and Udham Singh Nagar- nearly all of them lying in the southern and south-western districts of the state. Train connections to other cities in northern India, including Delhi, Lucknow and Varanasi, are frequent, and from these towns regular buses travel northward to other parts of Uttarakhand.
By Road: Technically, all of Uttarakhand is connected by road to the rest of north India- but the state of a road is often suspected. Hill roads tend to be neglected, and potholes, poor surfaces and landslides are common, especially in the more remote areas. Through much of the state, however, roads are the only means of getting around, so you’d better reconcile yourself to that fact. Major towns- including all the district headquarters- have bus connections to other towns and villages in the state, and to neighbouring states as well.
Culture of Uttarakhand
Garhwali and Kumaoni culture haven't succumbed to the onslaught of the mundane. Here, for instance, daily meals often use the same ingredients and the same cooking styles which have been used for centuries; age-old religious rites and rituals are followed; and wandering folk singers and dancers still provide some of the most wholesome entertainment around.
Dances like the Langvir Nritya, Dhurang, Pandav Nritya, Chholiya, Hurka Baul and Jharva are popular, particularly during fairs and festivals. These dances are usually accompanied by folksy tunes performed on local instruments like the murli (a flute), the dhol and the hurka, both traditional drums.
Both Kumaon and Garhwal are a rich repository of traditional literature. Originally in the form of lyrical ballads and folklore chanted by itinerant singers, the tales of this region are now considered part of Hindi literature's best works.
Among the prominent local crafts is wood carving, which appears most frequently in the ornately decorated temples of Uttarakhand. Intricately carved designs- of floral patterns, deities and geometrical motifs- also decorate the doors, windows, ceilings and walls of village houses. Beautifully worked paintings and murals are used to decorate both homes as well as temples. Kumaoni art often is geometrical in nature, while Garhwali art has long been known for its closeness to the Mughal style of painting- a style which was introduced centuries ago and became very popular. Other crafts of Uttarakhand include handcrafted jewellery- usually of gold; basketry from Garhwal; woollen shawls and scarves and rugs. The latter are mainly produced by the Bhotias of northern Uttarakhand.
Places to Visit in Uttarakhand
Whether a pilgrim, a sightseeing enthusiast or an adventure lovers, the state of Uttarakhand in northern India has a lot to offer. On the one hand, you have the very sacred chardham destinations to experience the religious India. On the other, there are such impressive hill stations like Nainital and Mussoorie, where honeymooners, couples and even families can have the time of their lives. That's not all. There are also some great opportunities in store for adventure lovers and they can really indulge in a variety of adventure and other recreational activities.
For Hindu pilgrims, Uttarakhand is the ultimate destination- the home of the Ganga and the Yamuna, the place where the gods dwell. Not surprisingly, a yatra of the Char Dham - Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath- is a must-do for many visitors to the area. As is a visit to the holy city of Haridwar, which hosts the Maha Kumbh Mela; or to Rishikesh, higher up in the mountains.
Other places to see in Uttarakhand is the gurudwara of Hemkund Sahib that is surrounded by seven hills and is situated near Joshimath. It is one of Sikhism’s most important shrines. The shrine sits on the bank of Lokpal Lake, and is believed to have been the home of Guru Gobind Singh, who once meditated here. And if you’re planning a visit to Hemkund Sahib, a trek through the nearby Valley of Flowers is worth including. The valley is a national park, and its thousands of wildflowers make it a sight never to be forgotten. And that’s not all; all across Garhwal and Kumaon are hundreds of other places, small and large, undiscovered and popular, which are worth a visit.
The hill settlement of Nainital is full of natural beauty and was a popular summer retreat for the British during the time they ruled India. It features the serene, emerald colored Naini Lake and action filled strip called The Mall, lined with restaurants, shops, hotels, and markets.
The town is actually made up of two areas, Tallital and Mallital, which are on either end of the lake, surrounded by mountains and connected by The Mall. Nainital is the perfect place to come and simply enjoy nature and the pristine views, which you’ll find in abundance there.
Nainital is 310 kilometers (193 miles) north east of Delhi, in the Kumaon region of the state of Uttarakhand (previously known as Uttaranchal).
Getting to Nainital:
The nearest train station is at Kathgodam, around an hour away. One of the best trains to take is the overnight Ranikhet Express from New Delhi, which departs every evening at 10.45 p.m. Alternatively, Naintal is well connected with other parts of India by road, and buses frequently run. It takes around 8 hours to get there from Delhi by road. The nearest airport is at Pantnagar, around two hours away away. Jagson Airlines has permission to service that route from Delhi, but it’s best to check if flights have commenced operating.
Ancient Haridwar (the Gateway to God) is one of the seven holiest places in India, and one of the oldest living cities. It's made up of a fascinating and colorful collection of sadhus (holy men), pundits (Hindu priests), pilgrims, guides, and beggars. Every evening, the Ganges comes alive with the magic of the aarti (worship with fire), as lamps are lit, prayers are offered, and small candles are floated down the river. For Hindus, a visit to Haridwar is believed to provide liberation from the endless cycle of death and rebirth.
Getting to Haridwar:
Haridwar is located in Uttarakhand. Trains from major cities all over India stop at Haridwar on their way to Dehradun. For those coming from Delhi to Haridwar, it takes a minimum of four hours to get there by train or six hours by road. The nearest airport to Haridwar is in Dehradun, 40 kilometers (25 miles) away. This makes air travel a less preferable option.
Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga, is a popular place to come and meditate, do yoga, and learn about other aspects of Hinduism. It's situated on the banks of the Ganges River, surrounded by hills on three sides, not far from Haridwar in Uttarakhand. The whole town is considered to be sacred and it’s believed that meditation there leads to salvation.
Rishikesh lures those seeking knowledge and peace with its numerous temples, ashrams, and yoga institutes. Despite the growing number of visitors, the town’s lanes and alleys retain a old-world charm, and it remains a wonderful place to relax and unwind amongst nature.
Getting to Rishikesh:
The nearest airport to Rishikesh is in Dehradun, 35 kilometers (22 miles away). However, it's preferable to travel to Rishikesh by road from Haridwar.
Corbett National Park
Corbett National Park makes an interesting side trip from Nainital. Named after hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett, it has dense forest and an exotic array of wildlife. One of the best ways of exploring the park is on the jeep or elephant safaris that take place daily in the early morning and afternoon. The park has a tiger reserve, but tiger sightings are less common than at some of India's other national parks. The Dhikala zone of the park is the most panoramic, with stunning valley views, and offers the best change of animal sightings. You may even get to see wild elephants.
After the snow clears at the foothills of the Himalayas in late April, Hindu pilgrims start flocking to the four ancient temples known as Char Dham. Located high up in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, these temples mark the spiritual source of four holy rivers: the Yamuna (at Yamunotri), the Ganges (at Gangotri), the Mandakini (at Kedarnath), and the Alaknanda (at Badrinath). Hindus consider visiting the Char Dham to be very auspicious. Not only is it believed to wash away all sins, it will also ensure release from the cycle of birth and death. There are a number of options for going on a Char Dham yatra (journey).