Which is the best NGO in Uttarakhand

Garhwal and Kumaon in Uttarakhand - impressive diversity of Hindu culture

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Best time to visit Uttarakhand | Uttarakhand in brief | Peoples and Religions | Food | Flora and fauna | National parks and nature reserves | Mountains and trekking | History | Economy | Holiday calendar

Uttarakhand is an Indian state in the mountainous north of the republic, which is divided into the administrative divisions Garhwal and Kumaon. Surrounded by the federal states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh as well as the neighboring countries Tibet and Nepal, beautiful, white-peaked mountain regions of the Himalayas and some of the holiest places of the Hindus open up to the visitor.

Western tourism has so far not opened up much to the state, mainly pilgrims on the paths of Hinduism travel up the Ganges to its springs, which are sacred here in Garhwal. The source rivers of the Ganges, the Alaknanda and the Bhagirathi unite in Devprayag and make the small town an important Hindu pilgrimage site with the typical stairs carved into the rocky bank to the holy river. If you want to immerse yourself in the Ganges and feel the liberating and, according to legend, healing effects of its water, you can do so safely here - because it is still clear and unencumbered so close to its origin in the Himalayas. Attend a Hindu purification ceremony in Gangotri or visit one of the many yoga schools in the region for a short instruction or a multi-day retreat, let yourself be pampered according to Ayurvedic tradition in a luxurious ashram in Rishikesh or follow the paths with us along the Alpine pastures, through fir and birch forest to impressive viewpoints of the Himalayas.

Garhwal and Kumaon also live from the diversity of the landscape and the culture and language of the population, like so many regions in India, Nepal, Tibet or Mongolia. For example, Kumaon produced some seemingly overpowering warriors who were reverently watched by the British colonial rulers, and that the Kumaon regiment under Indian rule is known to this day for the courage and honor of its soldiers.

In the villages and on the paths, on the other hand, you encounter friendly looks and smiling faces and as a traveler you can enjoy the distinctive hospitality of the people. We will also build your bridge to the fascinating city of Rishikesh, in which historical and modern temples nestle on the banks of the Ganges, we will make contact with Hindu yogis who teach you and with traditional yoga schools and together we will walk with the shepherds of the Bharal - Flocks of sheep over the lush green or springtime blooming, alpine pastures. Experience responsible and sustainable tourism in cooperation with the village communities of the Himalayas, the alpine flora and fauna in their diversity and the colorful devotion of the Hindus to their gods.

Best time to visit Uttarakhand

In Uttarakhand, the monsoon prevails in summer from around June and provides a lot of precipitation, so that the months from June to September should be avoided as a travel time window. The cold season is not ideal for trekking and ascent to great heights, but basically you can discover Uttarakhand on a trip over the winter and admire the beauty of the untouched landscape. Spring from the end is absolutely ideal and very suitable for all travel plans January to May you can witness the awakening of nature, watch the rural population in the lowlands sowing seeds and use all the trekking routes. The months October and November are also recommended for travel, the monsoons have left the country and leave behind lush greenery.

Uttarakhand in brief

locationIn northern India in the Himalayas, with southern and western borders with the federal states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, western border with Nepal, northern border with Tibet (People's Republic of China).
surface53,483 km²
population10,086,292 / 189 per km² (2011)
CapitalDehradun
Districts13: Dehradun, Haridwar, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Pauri Garhwal, Rudraprayag (Garhwal division) and Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Udham Singh Nagar (Kumaon division)
topographyIn the south the Ganges plain lies at an altitude of only 300-400 m above sea level. NHN, to the north the country rises over the foothills of the Himalayas to the summit of the Nanda Devi with 7816 meters.
vegetationSubtropical vegetation in the Ganges plain, which changes according to the ascent to alpine vegetation. Correspondingly wide variety of plants: subtropical trees, bamboo, fern, orchids and magnolias, mixed forests of beech, oak and chestnut, also rhododendrons. In the valleys of the middle altitude an impressive number of flowers, up to 1000 different species bloom at the same time. A wide variety of alpine (medicinal) herbs and grasses at great heights.
WildlifeAs broad as the diversity of vegetation is the diversity of the animal world: from elephants, rhinos, bears and tigers in the lowlands (which can only be found in protected areas) to an astonishingly high number of bird species that will delight ornithologists, to the occurrence of snow leopards , Yaks and many different kinds of sheep and goats on the heights. There are also large numbers of reptiles, amphibians and insects.
climateSubtropical continental climate with summer monsoon.
temperatureHighs all year round between 28 and 35 ° C, cooling down to 18 ° C at night. A reduction in temperature of around 0.5 to 1 ° C must be expected for every 100 m ascent.
PrecipitationA total of over 2000 mm of precipitation per year, of which 80% in the months of the monsoons from June to mid-October.
languagesHindi (almost 90%) with Kumaoni and Garhwali as the most important dialects, Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Nepali.
ethnicitiesMainly members of the higher Hindu castes, Brahmins and Rajputs live in the lowlands and the low mountain ranges. In the high mountains, on the other hand, there is a large number of tribes that belong to the Bothia and Lepcha and are of Buddhist faith. In addition, descendants of Pakistani tribes as well as Bengal and Nepalese live in Uttarakhand.
ReligionsMainly Hinduism (85%), 12% Islam, 2.5% Sikhs.
economyThe majority of the population is engaged in agriculture and cattle breeding, but mainly covers their own needs due to the difficult conditions. Tourism is an important source of income.
getting thereFrom Delhi by train and vehicle.
Visa / entry permitA passport, which is valid for at least six months, and a visa are required to enter India.
VaccinationsIn addition to the standard vaccinations, vaccination against hepatitis, typhoid, rabies, meningococcal meningitis and Japanese encephalitis is recommended.

Peoples and religions

The population of Uttarakhand is ethnically quite homogeneous compared to other parts of the Himalayas. Brahmins and Rajputs, i.e. Hindus of the upper castes, live on the coast and in the low mountain ranges, as well as some Bengali and Punjabi who immigrated shortly after the end of the British occupation. It is only in the high mountains that the typical minority mosaic made up of many small tribes with Tibetan and Nepalese descent can be found. The religious affiliation of the people is also in accordance with their respective tribal history: almost 85% of the population are practicing Hindus, the people from Punjab are often of Muslim faith. In the high mountains you come across devout Buddhists, and their religion is often pervaded by Hindu influences. "Pure" Tibetan Buddhism is very rarely practiced, just as there are only a few small tribes that can be assigned to shamanism. Since there are important Hindu pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand (especially the source rivers of the Ganges are sacred), Hinduism is also well represented in the landscape. The most important Hindu pilgrimage sites in the Uttarakhand area are Devprayak and Gangotri - highly recommended stops during your stay.

food

Thanks to the reliable importation of fruit and vegetables, the supply of food in Uttarakhand is more diverse today all year round than it was in the times when the population lived exclusively on the crops they produced. The staple food here, as in the rest of India, is definitely rice, which is often prepared as a curry with various ingredients. The typical Indian stew made from legumes, the dhal, can also be found in the pots of Uttarakhand. Everywhere in the streets of the cities small food stalls are apparently always open, where you can buy a main meal or a snack for a cheap price. Especially in late summer, the range of freshly harvested tropical fruits such as oranges and mangoes is very tempting. However, it is important not to consume any unpeeled or uncooked fruit and vegetables - the gastrointestinal system of Western holidaymakers is often quite sensitive to completely normal bacteria here. Since Uttarakhand is predominantly Hindu, there is relatively little meat on the people's menu. But you can get it in hotels and restaurants, and what is on offer on our trips depends entirely on your personal wishes.

Flora and fauna

An India vacation in Uttarakhand and especially a trekking tour through its untouched landscapes make the heart of every animal and plant lover beat faster. The variety of species of trees, flowers, ferns, grasses, insects, mammals and birds seems limitless and with every step you discover a new world. The colorful orchids in the low-lying forests in spring, but also the flower meadows in the valleys of the low mountain ranges are intoxicatingly beautiful and the scent of countless flowers completes the enjoyment. Everywhere travelers come across colorful butterflies, in the hills scattered shepherds roam around with their herds and in the national parks you have the chance to observe endangered animal species.

National parks and nature reserves

The Jim Corbett National Park in the Nainital district in southern Uttarakhand was founded in 1936, which makes its 520 km² area the oldest protected area in India. Here you can still meet populations of the Bengal tiger and Indian leopard and with a little luck you can observe a herd of Asian elephants. In addition, rhesus monkeys, the cute spotted musang Paradoxurus hermaphroditus and collar bears and sloth bears, the Indian mongoose, reed cats, axis deer, sambal deer, Nilgau antelopes and many more live here. Even swamp crocodiles are represented, along with 580 different bird species.
Adjacent and with an area of ​​820 km² more than a third larger is the Rajaji National Park. It surrounds the Shivalik hilly landscape and is home to flora and fauna similar to those of Jim Corbett National Park in the various vegetation zones of its reserve. One of the largest known populations of Asian elephants lives here.

Also the valley of flowers - The Valley of Flowers is one of the protected areas. It extends over three vegetation zones and is home to dense forests with very typical vegetation, but also with exceptionally rare trees such as the Himalayan maple Acer cesium. In addition, plant lovers will find 500 different types of flowers (62 different aster plants alone), countless less developed plant types and various medicinal herbs, some of which were only found here. The valley of flowers is regularly searched for new discoveries and scientists from all over the world are intensively researching the possibilities that the use of medicinal herbs offers in Western medicine. Visitors are greeted by the scent of wild roses and wild strawberries that line the paths. Of course, the animals also enjoy the protection of the region; 13 endangered mammal species live here, such as the Himalayan black bear Ursus thibetanus or the Himalayan musk deer, Moschus lecogaster.

Not far from the Valley of Flowers is the protected area of ​​the same name in the Nanda Devi National Park, which not only includes this mountain, but around 70 other peaks in its surrounding area. A trek into this protected area is always subject to the risk that current protection decisions, for example, prevent the crossing of a certain pass and the route must be varied accordingly. The biodiversity of the region, the incomparably beautiful panoramas and the intoxicating mountain views make the attempt definitely worthwhile!

Mountains and trekking

The Uttarakhand mountain world impresses above all with its untouched beauty. There is no mining here, very few people settle there and even cattle herders are rarely to be found. From the gentle, lush green hilltops speckled with colorful flowers, one has an intoxicatingly beautiful view in all directions, in the north always against the impressive backdrop of the white mountain giants of the Himalayas.

Physical challengeName and area of ​​the trekMaximum heightDurationType of accommodationNotes / description
TREKKING 3600 - 4800 meters
moderate to demandingNanda Devi East Base Camp4200 meters14 daystentThis trek crosses the Milam Valley. The Milam River and the Pindar River are fed by the glacier of the same name, which was formed on the slopes of the Kohli and Trishul peaks. The route to the base camp at Mt. Nanda Devi East opens up the wonderful panoramic view of its east side. Previous experience in trekking at great heights is required.
moderate to demandingThe source of the Ganges4500 meters9 daysMountain huts, tentA pleasant, only moderately demanding trek to the source of the Ganges. The ascent to the Tapovan, however, is quite challenging. Prior experience in trekking at high altitudes must be assumed.
Mountaineering above 5600 meters
moderateMt.Baljuri Kumaon5922 meters12 daystentTrek via Loharkhet - Dhakuri - Khati - Dwali - Base Camp and attempt to climb the summit. Enjoy the view of the peaks of Nanda Khat, Changuch and Nada Kot, pass crossing Longstaff Col and Nanda Devi East.
moderateMt. RontiGarhwal6063 meters12 daystentTrek via Debal - Sutol - Sitel - Homakund (BC) - Ronti, attempt to climb the summit via the Ronti saddle. Enjoy the view of Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Neelkanth, Chaukhamba and Kedarnath peaks.

history

Uttarakhand is a very young federal state of the Republic of India, which was only created in 2000 when the area was split off from Uttar Pradesh and initially (until 2006) was run under the name Uttaranchal. The current seat of government is Dehradun, the city lies in the Gharwal division at an average altitude of 680 m above sea level. NHN. Historically, the two peace-loving kingdoms of Kumaon and Garhwal were located in the area for many centuries, until the end of the 18th / beginning of the 19th century, first the Nepalese Gurkha and then the British invaded the region and placed the territory under their rule.

economy

As is customary in many Himalayan regions, a large part of the population operates agriculture, but almost exclusively covers their own needs. Rice can be grown in the lower regions, while potatoes, millet, vegetables and apples thrive in the higher regions. Livestock is mainly raised in the high mountains within the small settlements of indigenous tribes, and this also serves primarily for self-sufficiency. Tourism represents a respectable source of income for Uttarakhand, however, because in addition to a few western tourists, a relatively large number of Hindu pilgrims flock to the region to go on a pilgrimage along the Ganges, past the place of its confluence in Devprayag, its source rivers and up to its source to purify yourself ceremonial. The Uttarakhand government promotes this tourism in a sustainable manner and ensures that the population is involved and the landscapes are protected.

Holiday calendar

In Uttarakhand the Hindu and Buddhist festivals and holidays are celebrated with their respective rites and traditions. In terms of calendar, these are based on the lunar cycle, which is why they fall on different dates each year. Due to a relatively high proportion of Muslims in the population, corresponding events also take place on major Muslim holidays. The Hindu celebrations are certainly particularly attractive for tourists, although they can be observed almost all year round due to the many holy places in the state - in particular the ablution ceremonies on the banks of the Ganges and its source rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi are sacred and exalt even those who only watch . We would be happy to advise you on participating in Hindu ceremonies or Buddhist celebrations during your travel time window!