Uttarakhand is one of the most beautiful northern states of India located on the southern slope of the Himalayan range. Mighty Himalayan peaks and glaciers are on its north where it borders Tibet. Nepal is on its east, Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is on south and Himachal Pradesh lies on its west and northwest. 65%of its area is covered by dense forests that are home to Royal Bengal tiger, leopards and many other endangered animal and plant species. The glaciers of two of the most important rivers—Ganga and Yamuna—are located here.
It has something to offer to every kind of traveller. For wildlife lovers, Jim Corbett National Park—the oldest national park of the Indian subcontinent is a must visit. Many rare Himalayan birds can also be spotted here besides Pangot and Sattal. For adventure seekers there are some of India’s best trekking trails like Valley Of Flowers, Roopkund, and Chopta-Chandrashila. It also provides immense opportunities for adventure sports, such as skiing at Auli and white water rafting at Shivpuri. Popularly known as the ‘Land of Gods’, it is home to numerous holy places like Gangotri, Yamnotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Rishkesh and Haridwar. Therefore, thousands of pilgrims throng the state every year. Amazing hill stations like Chakrata, Mukteshwar, Dhanaulti and Munsiyari make Uttarakhand a sought after tourist destination for leisure trips. Here’s a list of destinations in Uttarakhand that every nature lover would love to visit.
Having breakfast with the view of snow-covered Himalayan peaks on a lazy morning while soft rays of winter sun embrace your body and soul while cool breeze kisses you is something city people always crave for. Chakrata located at a distance of 330 km from Delhi, is a tiny hamlet which is a perfect place to do so. There are two routes to drive from Delhi to Chakrata, one is via Panipat and Kurukshetra and the second one is via Loni and Saharanpur, which supposedly is more beautiful and has less traffic.
Chakrata is a small cantonment town in Dehradun district resting at an elevation of about 7500 ft. The town gets a magnificent view of the snow covered Himalayas and is covered in deodar, Himalayan oak and rhododendron forest. Many day trips to places like Deoban, Koti, Kanasar can be done with Chakrata as base. There are some easy treks also around Chakrata that your hotel guys can arrange for you. There are not many hotels in the area so make sure to book your accommodation in advance. Chakrata is a year round destination; the winter season is perfect to experience snow, greenery is at its best during the monsoon season and the summer season too is quite pleasant.
Auli is one of the most beautiful places of Uttarakhand. Bordered by snow-covered Himalayan peaks, Auli is enveloped in dense golden oak and pine forest with green meadows and slopes ranging from a height of 2519 m to 3049 m. It is considered to be a world-class spot for skiing. GMVN winter resort here provides skiing facility, besides ski training for aspirants. Almost from everywhere in Auli, you can enjoy stunning views of the lofty mountain ranges—Nanda Devi, Mana Paravat and Kamat.
The golden rays of sun on the snow-laden peaks fill the atmosphere with a divine glow. The 3rd highest peak of the world—Nanda Devi gleams like the crown of the region. There is an open cable-car to go up to the spot where skiing is done. Even if you do not want to ski, you have plenty of things to do. Climb up the slopes, play with snow, ride a sledge and who knows you might feel like trying skiing too. The best time to visit Auli is in between December and March.
Spread across an area of 520.8 sq km, Jim Corbett National Park is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand. It is the oldest national park, and is named after Jim Corbett who was the main person behind this establishment. The park is divided in 5 zones—Bijrani, Jhirna, Durgadevi, Dhikala, Sitavani—and is inhabited by royal Bengal tiger, leopard, jungle cat, barking deer, hog deer, cheetal, sloth bears, otters, Himalayan goral, Indian pangolins, langur and many other wild animals. Many rare birds can also be spotted in the region.
Gorgeous Corbett National Park is one of the favourite destinations equally for wildlife lovers and weekenders. It is just 235 km away from capital city and can be reached in couple of hours. It features splendid landscapes and offers a good amalgam of hills, rivers, forests, marshlands and grasslands. The park is open from the months of November through June. The park is kept closed in the monsoon season as the roads inside the park get washed away due to rain. After the monsoon season, repair work starts and ends only by November.
Staying in middle of fruit orchards in tents and eating garden fresh meals while looking at the Himalayan peaks covered in fresh snow are a few of the many beautiful memories I have of Mukteshwar. You can walk through the dense pine forest and enjoy stunning views of the mighty mountains. Situated at an altitude of 7500 ft in the lap of Kumaon hills, Mukteshwar is an ideal nature get away from Delhi. It just takes 7 hrs from Delhi to reach Mukteshwar via Gajraula, Rampur, Haldwani and Bhowali. Summer months (March to July) are the best months to visit Mukteshwar. If you want to experience snow, visit during Jan or Feb when the whole area is covered in snow and looks stunningly beautiful. If you happen to visit this place around the month of June, the harvesting season, you’d find many fruits like peaches, plum and apricot. And if you still did not have your fill, Mukteshwar has many fruit orchards and you might get lucky to get offered the fruits just plucked from the trees by villagers. The taste of crunchy fresh peaches plucked from a road side tree of an orchard that belonged to a generous local who gladly offered us to pluck as many as we want, is still fresh in my mouth. Mukteshwar has recently got very popular among those looking for holidays in offbeat destinations and hence there is a wide range of options to stay starting from camps to budget hotels to boutique hotels.
Kausani is a quiet little town in the Kumaon region of Uttaranchal, 420 km away from Delhi. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks of Panchchuli, Nandakot, Nanda Devi, Trishul, Nanda Gunti and Chaukhamba. If weather is favorable you might witness the best sunrise of your life here with soft golden light of morning sun creating magic over the peaks. This can be best witnessed from the GMVN guesthouse some 2 km away from the main town. There are many attractions close by of which Anasakti Ashram, Tea Estate and factory, Rudhradhari Falls and caves, and Burha Pinnath are the prominent ones.
Gandhiji stayed at Anasakti Ashram for 2 weeks. It is also known by the name Gandhi Ashram and is just 1 km away from the main town. It is basically a simple cottage engrossed with the teachings of the Mahatma. A part of this ashram offers accommodation too. The Tea Estate and factory is only 3 km away from Kausani towards Baijnath.