The Land of Gods – Dev bhoomi

Uttarakhand is the 27th state of the Republic of India. It was carved out of Uttar Pradesh on 9th November 2000. Uttarakhand is also called Dev Bhoomi as it has many important shrines. Located at the foothills of the Himalayas, this State in India has international boundaries with China (Tibet) in the north and Nepal in the east. The state is divided into 2 administrative zones: Kumaon and Garhwal which share a total of 13 districts under them. 6 districts in Kumaon and 7 districts in Garhwal. The districts of Kumaon region are Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar. The districts of Garhwal region are Chamoli, Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri, Rudraprayag, Tehri and Uttarkashi.

I hv been visiting Uttarakhand since childhood. It was Uttar Pradesh then and have visited it even when it became Uttarakhand. Every summer, my banker father would book us a vacation and we girls would bundle up and head towards the North of India. It would be either Delhi, Madhya Pradesh or any city in Uttarakhand.. Delhi is directly connected to many  places in Uttarakhand. After a short visit to Delhi, we would head towards Dehra Dun and other connected places.  I have visited Dehra Dun, Mussoorie, Rishikesh an infinite number of times and have very beautiful Memories of these places etched in the sands of time.  Even after so many trips to Uttarakhand, we never visited any place in the Kumaon region. That’s because of our fascination to Garhwal. 

The beautiful Badrinath temple, Joshimath – the winter abode of Lord Badrinarayan, Kedarnath temple,Nanda Devi peak,Rudraprayag, Devprayag, Vishnu Prayag, Neelkanth peak are all located in the Chamoli district of The Garhwal region. Badrinath temple is a major pilgrimage site. It’s one of the Char dham yatra sites –  the four abodes as defined by Adi Shankaracharya. It is believed that every Hindu must do this four abodes trip to attain Moksh(salvation). The other three are Dwaraka, Puri and Rameshwaram. The smaller circuit of the char dham is here in Uttarakhand  –  Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri temples. Badrinath is located on the banks of Alaknanda river and at a height of 3133 m above sea level. Joshimath is the gateway to this pilgrim centre and also to several Himalayan climbing expeditions.

Garhwal Himalayan terrain is a very hilly one. Landslides, cloud bursts, heavy rains, flash floods are a part of the package that you could book. These natural phenomenon often disrupt one’s journey. We should, therefore, be prepared with emergencies while travelling to Garhwal. While for the traveller it’s just a disrupted journey,  life comes to a standstill for the natives with communications and transport stopped until it all recedes. Our visit to the Badrinath temple was one such a trip where we experienced the wrath of the Weather. The bus journey that we had undertaken from Rishikesh to Badrinath had to be halted as the road ahead had been damaged  due to landslide. We were at Joshimath then and took shelter at a Dharamshala. journey would resume once the rains stopped and the road restored. Fortunately we were able to move on with the journey the next day and take the Badrinath Darshan. The majestic Neelkanth peak was another mesmerising massif which we were able to experience and we felt very fortunate to be In its presence

Every city or district name in Uttarakhand Is a sort of hyperlink to  Inexhaustible geographical detail and natural beauty. Landslides are surely a part of this place but an Uttarakhand tour is nothing if something exciting doesn’t happen. Every nook, every corner, every turn, every stretch, every valley, the huge mountains, the ashrams and the shrines will make moments of your life an everlasting one.