Uttarakhand, adjoined by Nepal and Tibet, and shadowed by towering Himalayan peaks, is full of pure natural beauty. It’s split into two regions—Garhwal in the north, and Kumaon in the south. Ancient holy places, mountains, forests and valleys, and an abundance of trekking options are some of the temptations that make travel to Uttarakhand worthwhile. Check out these top tourist places in Uttarakhand for inspiration.
Uttarakhand is also an outstanding place to get off the beaten track. If you’re looking enjoy with your friends, you’ll love these places
Jim Corbett National Park
One of India’s most famous national parks. It has thick forest and an array of wildlife, although tiger sightings aren’t as common as some other places in India. The park can be explored by jeep or elephant safaris, which take place daily in the early mornings and afternoons. The Dhikala zone of the park is the most picturesque, with astonishing valley views. It offers the best possibility of animal sightings.
Ancient Haridwar is one of the seven most religious places in India, and one of the oldest living cities. Established at the foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, it’s especially popular with Hindu pilgrims who come to take a dip in the holy waters of the fast-flowing Ganges River and wash away their sins. The evening Ganga Aarti carries a special appeal.
Rishikesh, located not far from Haridwar, is as popular with westerly spiritual seekers as Haridwar is with Hindu pilgrims. Rishikesh is known as the birthplace of yoga, people flock there to meditate, do yoga, and learn about other aspects of Hinduism in the various ashrams and yoga institutes. Despite the growing number of visitors, the town’s lanes and alleys retain an old-world charm. It persists an excellent place to relax and unwind among nature.
The hill settlement of Nainital, in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, was a popular summertime retreat for the British during the time they ruled India. It features emerald-coloured Nainital Lake and an action-filled strip called The Mall, lined with restaurants, shops, hotels, and markets. Enjoy one of the many jungle walks, explore the encompassing area on horseback, or relax on a boat in the lake. This destination gets very crowded during summers, especially on weekends, due to its closeness to Delhi. Around Nainital, you’ll find Jeolikote, Bhimtal, Ramgarh and Mukteshwar which are all less developed and quieter places to stay.
Mussoorie is another popular weekend stop for north Indians, as well as honeymooners. One of the main reasons for this is because it has a lot of facilities developed especially for tourists. Take a cable car to Gun Hill, enjoy a delightful nature walk along Camel’s Back Road, have a picnic at Kempty Falls, or ride a horse up to Lal Tibba. Mussoorie also offers a superb view of the Himalayas. If you’re looking for a more peaceful alternative nearby, check out Landour.
Almora, now the capital of the Kumaon region, was established as the summer capital of Chand Kings in 1560. It attracts its share of foreigners who head to nearby Kasar Devi Temple, where Swami Vivekananda meditated. There are some chilled out places to stay in the area, such as Kasar Rainbow Resort and Mohan’s Binsar Retreat, as well as inexpensive guesthouses with private cottages just outside Almora town. Around Almora, you’ll find the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kausani, Ranikhet and the Jageshwar temple complex.
Valley of Flowers National Park
The remarkable landscape of The Valley of Flowers National Park in the Garhwal region comes alive with the monsoon rain. This high-altitude Himalayan valley has around 300 different varieties of alpine flowers, which appear as a bright carpet of colour against a mountainous snow-capped background. It’s a popular trekking destination, open from the start of June until the end of October.
Located high up in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, the Char Dham mark the spiritual source of four holy rivers: the Yamuna (at Yamunotri), the Ganges, the Mandakini, and the Alaknanda (at Badrinath). Hindus consider a pilgrimage to the Char Dham to be very auspicious. Not only is it believed to wash away all sins, but it will also ensure release from the cycle of birth and death.
Uttarakhand even has a skiing destination! Auli lies on the way to Badrinath and has a three-kilometre long slope, gondola, chairlift, and Poma ski lift. For skiing, conditions are best from the last week of January to the first week of March. However, it’s dependent on good snowfall, which is variable. If you’re into trekking, the Kuari Pass trailhead is at Auli. This trek, which passes through Nanda Devi National Park, is one of the state’s best and most accessible. Thrillophilia offers six-day guided trips from Haridwar. There are many other hiking trails around too.
Accommodation options in Auli are scarce but Devi Darshan Lodge is recommended if you don’t stay at the popular government-run Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Hotel. Alternatively, the Himalayan Abode Homestay near Joshimath is excellent, and the host is a skiing and snowboarding champion and coach. Another good option is the Himalayan Eco Lodge.
Not to be confused with the Chopta Valley in Sikkim, Chopta lies between Kedarnath and Badrinath in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, at the entry to Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary. It attracts travellers who want to enjoy the great outdoors away from the crowds and development. Chopta is the starting point for treks to Tungnath temple and Chandrashila summit. It’s a short, yet scenic, moderate trek that can be completed in a day. Notably, the temple is the world’s highest Shiva temple. Thrillophilia offers four-day guided trips from Haridwar.