Sunday, 29 December 2013


Pick up any account of India’s most beautiful destinations and it will have a mention of many places in the State of Uttarakhand. It is no surprise that this state is called the ‘Abode Of The Gods’. One factor which is common to almost all the popular destinations in the state is the river Ganges. This river has been aptly described by many as the lifeline of India. Year after year millions flock to destinations in Uttarakhand to worship this holy river. Rishikesh is one of the more popular destinations situated on the banks of the Ganges.
Rishikesh is located 20km to the North of the holy city of Haridwar. It is a popular spot for white water rafting enthusiasts from India and abroad. The Ganges in this region offers medium to rough rapids rated class 3 and class 4. This provides for the thrill of a lifetime. The growth of tourism in Rishikesh as a result of the rise in popularity of this adventure sport is testimony to the high quality of facilities available. India’s first and only bungee jumping camp has also been setup in Rishikesh and has been greeted with open arms by  tourists and locals alike.
 The pace of life today especially in urban parts of the world leaves little time for relaxation. Therefore, any holiday must provide tourists belonging to these areas a sense of peace and relaxation. The answer for this is again Rishikesh. It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of ‘Moksha’. The same is said of a dip in the Ganges that flows through it. Rishikesh has been nicknamed the “World Capital Of Yoga” owing to numerous  Yoga centres  it has. People from all parts of the globe come to Rishikesh every year to learn the art of Yoga.
Rishikesh also has an ‘Aarti’(prayer) every evening on the banks of the Ganges. Although this prayer is not as well attended as the one in Haridwar, it has its own charm and the light from a few thousand diyas is a sight to behold.  It is because of all these reasons that a visit to Uttarakhand is incomplete if Rishikesh is not on the itinerary.
Article By : Maanas Lal –

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Adventure sports and their requirement in today's life

Sports have been a part of humans since long back and have played a key role in their personal and social being. Sports date back to around two and a half thousand years and since then there has been a lot of change in the way we perceive them.

With the passage of time ‘adventure sports’ aka ‘extreme sports’ have gained popularity. These sports include a variety of options ranging from aero sports such as paragliding, wind surfing, parasailing, skydiving, hang gliding, bungee jumping, kite surfing etc. to water sports like scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, Rafting, etc. to various other extreme sports like rock climbing, mountain biking and cave diving. Unlike the traditional sports, adventure sports are governed by a number of uncontrollable factors like wind, snow, terrain, water, mountains etc. depending on the specific sport. These factors cannot be kept constant as is the case with traditional sports. Some of these factors include snow for snowboarders, height and shape for surfers, rock quality for hill climbers. One major factor distinguishing the traditional sports and adventure sports is the high level of risk involved in adventure sports which adds to the thrill one experiences in these kind of sports.

One needs to provide a lot of physical exertion as input but attains a lot in return. Apart from fun, there are a lot of other benefits that are associated with extreme sports. Most adventure sports provide a sense of exhilaration and the best part is the sense of achievement one derives out of them.

Adventure sports provide motivation and confidence. They help us to lead in life by providing the courage to take risks and face hurdles. They help promote a positive attitude towards life. People tend to rediscover their own personality and hence improve their way of living. Above all, these sports offer various health benefits. They help in reducing stress and hence provide overall mental and physical fitness.
So, wait no longer and quench your thirst for adventure by indulging in some breath taking adventure sport and feel the difference.

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Friday, 12 April 2013

Baisakhi - The Festival Of Joy

One of the most popular festivals celebrated in the land of five rivers – Punjab is known as Baisakhi. Baisakhi is celebrated in the context of harvesting of Rabi crops. The religious significance behind the day is the foundation of Khalsa Panth or Sikhism in 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh – the tenth sikh Guru.

The festival is celebrated on April 13 every year but once in 36 years it takes place on April 14.There are performances of Bhangra and Gidda dance while Gurudwaras serve special Langar after the prayers and offerings.

History behind Baisakhi:
The story behind the festival began when the ninth Sikh guru, Guru Teg Bahadur was beheaded by Aurangzeb when the guru stood for the rights of Hindus and Sikhs against the Mughal ruler who wanted to spread Islam in India and convert the rest of the religions to Islam.
After the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur, his son Guru Gobind Singh became the next sikh Guru who was a warrior since always and believed in injecting courage and bravery in his fellowmen.
On March 30, 1699 he called up his fellowmen at Gurudwara Keshgarh Sahib near Anandpur.Thousands of people gathered for Guru’s blessings at the place and when Guru Gobind Singh came out, he had a sword in one of his hands.He infused courage with a powerful speech in the people assembled and at the end of the speech he asked for sacrifice.
 The Guru demanded that if there is anyone prepared to give his life should come forward and a young man came forward on the third call. The man was taken into the tents by Guru and when Guru came back he was having a bloodied sword. Again guru asked for a volunteer and this happened a total of 5 times. Everyone was believing that Guru has killed all five Sikhs until Guru brought all of the five people together.

These five people were called Panj Pyaras or ‘beloved five’ by the Guru and they were given the holy nectar by the guru called as “Amrit” and later drunk by Guru from the Panj Pyaras. Now they were the members of the Khalsa Panth and this led to amalgamation of the low castes and upper castes as the one and surnames changed to Singh.
Baisakhi also earmarks the time for harvesting of Rabi i.e winter crops and is therefore a significant time for the farmers.The state of Punjab and Haryana which are richer agriculturally, thus have a significant impact of Baisakhi as compared to the rest of the nation. The farmers thank the god for the good cropping and visit temples and gurudwaras to express gratitude and ask for blessings for the year to come.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Char Dham - History

Char Dham Yatra 2013

Char Dham refers to the 4 holy shrines of  Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri which are situated in the lofty peaks of Uttarakhand. Often referred to as Dev Bhoomi which means land of Gods this region attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. In Hindu mythology it is believed that the person should do the Char Dham Yatra , atleast once in his lifetime for getting salvation. The temples believe to provide the virtues of all the pilgrimages of the world together to the pilgrims.The temple in these shrines have been increasing since always and now there are numerous temples in each of the shrine. The location of all char dhams is more than 3000 meters above sea level and get enormous smowfall dusing winters which leads to closing of the shrines. Hence the Yatra opens in the months of summer.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Some Of The Best Trekking Destinations In Uttarakhand!

Trekking is referred to a journey on foot whereby there are no means of transport available.Trekking leads to exploring such places which are generally in interiors and have a very less footfall of human beings.Such places, hence, are very natural, due to less human interference and gives a peace of mind to trekkers.

Uttarakhand and Trekking

Uttarakhand has been well known for its natural tourist spots.It is a state which has been blessed by nature and there are plenty of Himalayan treks available for trekking. The treks vary from soft to hard and offer a variety to the experienced trekkers. Whether it be the meadows of Deoria Taal or the majestic views of Chandrashila, every trek has something unique to offer the visitors.

In this article I  would like to present some of the spots in Uttarakhand which are worth visiting for trekking.

When it comes to one of the most alpine meadows in Uttarakhand, Bedni Bugyal runs away with the show.The place is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand at a height of 3350 metres above sea level.The trek consists of lush green grass meadows, coniferous forests and steep climb ways.

How to reach Bedni Bugyal and Ali Bugyal:
One needs to start from the Lohajang Pass which has a connectivity of motorable road.The trek passes from village for about 11 kms and ends at Wan village.The first 7 to 8 kilometers is a descending path while the latter part is an ascending one.


Best Season :
 May to November

Deoria Tal is a treasure of nature gifted to Uttarakhand with a non comparative beauty.The place is located at a height of 3200 metres and has a tendency to captivate anyone with its mesmerizing beauty level.The story behind the place is referred where the Pandavas were asked questions by the Yaksha before having water.The lake has a surrounding of soothing fields and is set magnificently in the lap of peaks.

Chopta is one of those unspoiled places in Himalayan range which is less known to people and hence is passed by many of them. The place appears to be one from Swiss map due to the heavenly beauty and is often reffered to as Mini Switzerland also. It is an alpine meadow at a height of 2500 meters and is a protected sanctuary.The flora consists of pines, rhododendrons, oaks and deodars at their full flourish. There is an ancient track towards the Tungnath temple which gives an unparalleled view of the Himalayan peaks

The winters convert everything with a  white blanket of snow and the summer Green meadows of Chopta convert into white during winters.

Chandrashila peak offers a majestic view of 360 degree of snow clad Himalayas. All major peaks including Nanda Devi, Chaukhamba and Trishul can be seen in on a clear day from Chandrashila.

Chopta – Chandrashila is one of the favorite Indian trekking destinations.


How to reach Deoria Tal:

Chopta is reachable through Ukhimath as well as Gopeshwar.Chopta is the starting point for trekking to Tungnath and further to Chandrashila.The best time to visit Chopta is from June to November.

 Easy to Moderate

Best Season: 
Round the year

Alright, now we come to a trek which is very famous and well known amongst the tourist/trekkers.There are enormous delights most of which are unexpected. With every moving step, the scenery which is already so magnificent unfolds itself.

The stream viewed Kedar Ganga meets the Bhagirathi at Gangotri surrounded by the brilliant snow peaks, Brahma, The Gangea Mandir, Shankracharya and the mighty Shivling, which is called as Dev Ghat, the starting nudge to Dev Ganga.

Gaumukh is 19km north east of Gangotri. Gaumukh can be seen at the foot of Shivling (a striking un-scaled pinnacle of rock & ice). Forbiddingly beautiful, the awesome Shivling Peak looms, 6,540m above the source of Ganga at the Gangotri Glacier evokes a mystical atmosphere descending from beyond.

Gaumukh is the source to Indias most sacred river – Ganges whereby it flows from Gangotri glacier, which is a giant 30 kms long glacier.It is surrounded by mighty peaks of Shivling, Meru and the three Bhagirathi peaks  while Chaukhamba being the highest peak .

The Chaukhamba cluster of snow peaks, while the three Bhagirathi peaks tower the Gaumukh springs as if these mountains were the embodiments of Shiva.


How to reach Gangotri:
Gangotri is well connected by motorable roads to most of the destinations in Uttarakhand.The nearest airport is Jolly Grant which is 250 Km from here.The nearest railway station is in Rishikesh which is situated nearly 234 Km from here.This remaining part of the journey is completed by road.

Rating :
 Moderate with weather unpredictable

 Feb to November

Har ki Doon 
is located in the west part of Garhwal at an  altitude of 3566 meters between dense forests and peaks.There is enormous flora and fauna on the way to the trek and is a paradise for bird watching and wild life lovers.
The name behind the place has a holy history whereby Hari meaning God and Dun meaning valley.Duryodhan is identified as God in this part of the world  and has a temple on his name and it is believed that Pandavas went to Swarg through this mountain.The,valley has rare Brahamkamal, Bhojpatra trees, some best variety of Pine and Deodar trees.The trek is an attraction to all age groups and is a must visit for photography lovers.

Har ki Doon is the base point for Swargarohini which is situated at a height of 6400 meters and has BandarPoonch mountain on its western range.Most of the houses on the way can be observed having carvings of Mahabharata.The place is gaining an important place in terms of tourism and the foot fall is increasing

The route consists of  Drive from Dehradun to Mussoorie to Sankri, Kampty falls and the Yamuna River, you will be visiting remote historical and cultural place of Jounsar-Bawar, Rawal, Jounpur and to the legendry & mythological temples of Lakhmandal (the exile of Pandavas) to Taluka Village, to Osla and then to Har-ki-Doon the trek is through terraced mountain fields, lush green grassy land and the coniferous forest and ultimately reached the wonderful multi-colored flower-ridden meadows of Har-ki-Doon.

How to reach Har Ki Doon:
Buses are easily available from Dehradun to Purola.Buses and taxis can be hired from Purola till Sankri and further till Taluka from where the actual trekking begins.

Rating :

Best Season :
 March - June & Sept - Mid Nov

Pindari is located at a height of 3820m in  Bageshwar district. The Pindari glacier is well connected to the southwestern slope of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary.The major peaks which lie near this glacier are  Nandakot (6880m),Pawalidwar (6663m), Nandakhat (6611m), and changuch (6322m) and Baljuri (5922m).   It is one of the most accessible glaciers in the Kumaon region.The glacier has a total length of 3 Km and is approximately 0.25 km broad.

The  Kafni glacier is the source to  the Kafni River, which is  a tributary of  the Pindar River. The Pinder River in turn is a tributary to theAlaknanda River, which eventually leads to  the Ganges.The region is known for its rich  wildlife.

How to reach Pindari Glacier and Kafni Glacier:

The trek starts from Song which is a small village in Almora.The first phase of the trek leads to Dhakuri which is around 14 Km from Song.The next 25 Km or so lead to Phurkia via Dwali from where Pindari is 14 Km away.The Kafni Glacier is 12 Km from Dwali.

Rating :

Best Season:
April to November.

Milam Glacier is 27 km long and it is considered the biggest glacier in the Kumaon region.Milam village, lying very close to this glacier, is one of the highest villages found in the Himalayan range which is located on the old trade route to Tibet. Munsiyari,apart from being the starting point for Milam Glacier, is the base point for some other glaciers also among which Namik, Lilam, Poting, and Ralam Glaciers are common. The main peaks found in this region include Kalabulanddhura (6215m)Burphudhura (6215m) and Hardeol (7151m).

How to reach Milam Glacier:

One can drive from Kathgodam till Munsiyari via Almora and Bageshwar.The trek route from Munsiyari till Lilam is mostly downhill after which the route  passes through some and downs with an increasing altitude till Rilkot passing through mule bridges and frozen ice streams.The next phase of the trek route upto Milam is a steep climb.


Best Season: 
May-June and September-October.

The valley of Flowers spreads over an area of 85.80 sq km and it is known for its large collection of wild flowers species. A large variety of flowers grow in this region including some ferns & Himalayan herbs. It is home to over 300 species of wild flowers. The valley is associated to the Ramayana and it is said that Hanuman Ji came here to collect Sanjeevani booti herb to revive Lakshman. The Pushpawati river adds to the beauty of the peak with the towering Rataban Peak in the background . The valley offers a once in a lifetime experience to those who are fond of nature. The Valley of Flowers was found by Frank S. Smythe who was a mountaineer, explorer and a botanist.He camped here for several weeks in the monsoon of 1937 and carried out his exploratory work. He then authored a book known as  “The Valley of Flowers” which brought out to the world the beauty which it contained. 

How to reach the Valley:

The motorable road begins at Haridwar and connects the valley upto Govind Ghat.The trek route commences from Govind Ghat and the first 13 Km lead to Ghangharia passing through zig zag mule track,terraced fields and vegetation.There are two routes from Ghangaria-one leading to the Sikh shrine Hemkunt Sahib and the other one to the Valley of flowers.


Best Season:
June-October is the best season to view this panoramic beauty .For the remaning part of the year the valley is snow covered and difficult to visit.

Roopkund is a mysterious lake at the altitude of 4450m in the interior of Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The lake is shallow having a depth of about 2 meters the edge of which is covered with snow for most part of the year. When this snow melts,skeletal remains of  humans  are visible some of which have flesh attached. Some believe that these remains are of the 300 people who died some 600 years ago. Others believe that they are the General Zorawar’s Soldiers who died in an attempt to conquer Tibet.


How to reach Roop Kund:

The trek route to Roop Kund starts from Lohajung which is located at an altitude of 2530 meters.The route leads to Bedni Bugyal via Didilana and is moderate.The next phase of the trek is comparatively easy and follows upto Patar Nachauni.The route from Patar till Roopkund has steep ascent in the beginning and a slope later.


Best time to visit

The meaning of  ‘Sunderdhunga’ is the valley having beautiful stones. The Sunderdhunga Valley is located to the west side of Pindari valley.

 The two Glaciers found here are Sukhram and Maiktoli whereas the main peaks comprise of Mrigthuni (6856m), Pawalidwar (6664m),Tharkot (6100m) and Maiktoli (6803m).


How to reach Sunderdhunga:
The route to Sunderdhunga till Khati is the same as is the trek route to Pindari and Kafni i.e one needs to drive from Kathgodam till Loharkhet from where the trekking begins.The trek leads to Khati which is the biggest village found on the trek to Pindari-Kafni glacier/Sunderdhunga.More than half of this journey passes through thick alpine forests.The two routes that follow lead to two viewpoints-Maiktoli top and Sukhram cave.


Best time to visit:

Dodi Tal is situated in north of Uttarkashi at an elevation of 3024m and is surrounded by dense woods of Pine, Deodar, Oak and Rhododendrons. Rare fishes,including the Himalayan Golden Trout can be found in this crystal clear lake.


How to reach Dodi Tal:

The trek to Dodi Tal commences from Uttarkashi to Sangam Chatti and it is approachable by motor. There is a gradual climb from Sangam Chatti to Agoda which passes through woods, fields, and villages. The trek further from Agoda to Dodi Tal is compararively steep and through thick forests.

Easy to moderate.

Best season:
April to November.

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Saturday, 2 February 2013

Spiritual Tourism In Uttarakhand - Char Dham Yatra

Tourism is the largest service industry globally in terms of gross revenue as well as foreign exchange earnings.

Uttarakhand holds fame for spiritual tourism due to famous shrines at Rishikesh and Haridwar as cities while the Char Dhams (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath) in the divine lap of mountains.There are vast forest areas consisting of famous wildlife sanctuaries while hills of the state preserve many hill stations.
The state has been given the name of Dev Bhoomi or the land of Gods due to the historical background which depicts various traditional stories of gods and goddesses lived hereby.The Char Dham is the ultimate pilgrim destination for achieving salvation which leads to more and more pilgrims receiving every year.

Hemkund Sahib is also another important pilgrim destination of the state which holds a shrine Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru. Not only Sikhs, there are people from all the religions visiting this holy place every year.

Next favorite is the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra which makes many a pilgrims and tourists breathless and embarks the soul of the pilgrims and tourists with its devotional spirit.

The state is rich in cultural heritage as well and there are innumerable fairs and festivals organized in various villages of Uttarakhand. Every fair has a history associated with it and the traditions are carried on in similar fashion. Tourists can get a firsthand experience of the culture with the recent village tourism concept of Uttarakhand Government.

All these pilgrim centres have a footfall of many foreign tourists looking for an insight of divine places, yoga activities, meditation,etc

All this requires offering of special packages to the tourists and actually giving them for what they are looking for whereby mental freshness and no stress is a must.

There is an unlimited tourism potential in the state and plays a vital role in the economy of the state.What is required is, a creation of efficient, modern and state of art infrastructure. Not only state will be advanced but will also generate huge number of employment opportunities which shall apply brakes on the moving of youth to other advanced cities of the country.

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