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Uttarakhand, a song of myth and reality

Uttarakhand, a song of myth and reality

  • 14 Feb 2020

It’s the tourist season and you have saved up money to travel. Now the question arises, where? You want the cultural feels of North East, but a bike trip in Ladakh sounds enticing. Then again, you don’t just want to bike but also trek through the meadows of Kasol. And visit the archaeological ruins of Hampi. Now your bucket list is starting to look heavier than your budget list. But there’s one place which offers you all of this, and more, and promises to comfort not just you but your savings too! Welcome to Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand - That attracts all segment of tourists

Uttarakhand in one sentence is a linguistic and cultural phenomenon. This Central Himalayan state has, since time immemorial, witnessed an influx of various ethnic communities, cultural groups and racial threads. Dotted with pilgrimage sites, soaked by holy rivers, and sustained by an air of myths and legends, passed down to generations via folk songs, the state has made its place in India as the DevaBhoomi (The Land of Gods), yet remains largely unexplored!

The Rich Tradition and Heritage

Rishikesh has always been a favourite place among spiritual seekers, and with the starting of International Yoga Festival every year in the month of March, the city welcomes a swarm of outlanders. Other places that also offer a similar retreat are Haridwar, Almora and Uttarkashi. But for all its religious identity now being superimposed on the state owing to the dominating Brahmanical culture, the mass is still very much attached to their respective kula devtas (family gods) and ancestral spirits who are paid reverence in many festivals from time to time, like the famous Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra during the month of September.

Historically, Brahminism and Buddhism have been the two dominating religions in the state; their material testaments, in a unique blend with the preceding Khasha culture, have stood the test of time. Mahasu Devta Temple, 190 kms from Dehradun, is one of the rarest specimens of Koti-Banal architecture and has been included in the ASI list of ancient temples. The Gurjar-Pratihara style of architecture of temples belonging to Shiva Heritage Circuit, the Nagara architectural style of Jageshwar temple complex near Almora, the South Indian style of architecture of Baleshwar Temple in Champawat, and many more, together make Uttarakhand an archaeological treasure land in India.

A Paradise for Adventure Enthusiasts

Valleys of Uttarakhand are not just filled with the prayer humming, but also the shrilling echoes of adventure enthusiasts. From rivers to the mountains, Uttarakhand is a natural all-weather adventure park! From December to March you can enjoy skiing at Auli or Dayara Bugyal. Or you can opt for an elephant ride for the safari at Corbett National Park or Rajaji National Park. March to April can be dedicated to kayaking and canoeing the rapids near Rishikesh. Rest of the months, depending on whether you want an adrenaline rush or eyeful of soothing paradise, you can go for bungee jumping in Rishikesh or trekking one of the world heritage site, Valley of Flowers, in Chamoli.

The Cultural Importance

So, Uttarakhand is not just the Maha Kumbh festival held every 12 years at Haridwar, but also the Kangdali Festival of Pithoragarh, coinciding the once-in-twelve-years blooming Kandali plant. It is not just a categorization of Garhwal-Kumaon communities, but also the land where Tribal communities like Jaunsaris, Bhotias, Buxas have been inhabiting since ages. From majestic Kedarnath Temple to tranquillity of Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib to Sufism of Dargah Piran Kaliyar, important pilgrimage sites of different faiths are nestled in the Himalaya. Yogis or water sports enthusiasts, all assemble at the banks of the holy river Ganga. Uttarakhand is everything at once, waiting to be explored a little bit more.

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