Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand (/ˌʊtəˈrɑːkʌnd/),[19] officially the State of Uttarakhand, formerly known as Uttaranchal,[20] is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Devabhumi (literally "Land of the Gods")[21] due to a large number of Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres found throughout the state. Uttarakhand is known for the natural environment of the Himalayas, the Bhabhar and the Terai. On 9 November 2000, Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India, being created from the Himalayan districts of Uttar Pradesh.[22] It borders Tibet to the north; the Sudurpashchim Pradesh of Nepal to the east; the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south and Himachal Pradesh to the west and north-west as well as Haryana on its south-western corner. The state is divided into two divisions, Garhwal and Kumaon, with a total of 13 districts. The interim capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun, the largest city of the state, which is a railhead. The High Court of the state is located in Nainital.

Archaeological evidence supports the existence of humans in the region since prehistoric times. The region formed a part of the Uttara Kuru Kingdom during the Vedic age of Ancient India. Among the first major dynasties of Kumaon were the Kunindas in the 2nd century BCE who practised an early form of Shaivism. Ashokan edicts at Kalsi show the early presence of Buddhism in this region. During the medieval period, the region was consolidated under the Kumaon Kingdom and Garhwal Kingdom. In 1816, most of modern Uttarakhand was ceded to the British as part of the Treaty of Sugauli. Although the erstwhile hill kingdoms of Garhwal and Kumaon were traditional rivals, the proximity of different neighboring ethnic groups and the inseparable and complementary nature of their geography, economy, culture, language, and traditions created strong bonds between the two regions which further strengthened during the Uttarakhand movement for statehood in the 1990s.

The natives of the state are generally called Uttarakhandi, or more specifically either Garhwali or Kumaoni by their region of origin. According to the 2011 Census of India, Uttarakhand has a population of 10,086,292, making it the 20th most populous state in India.[23]

State of Uttarakhand
Clockwise from top: View of Nanda Devi from Kausani, Badrinath Temple at Badrinath, Har Ki Pauri at Haridwar, GMVNL Ski Resort at Auli, Raj Bhavan at Nainital and a herd of Indian elephants at Jim Corbett National Park.
Official logo of State of Uttarakhand

Emblem
Nickname(s): 
Devabhumi
Location of Uttarakhand in India
Location of Uttarakhand in India
Map of Uttarakhand
Map of Uttarakhand
Coordinates (Dehradun): 30°20′N 78°04′E / 30.33°N 78.06°ECoordinates: 30°20′N 78°04′E / 30.33°N 78.06°E
Country India
Statehood9 November 2000[a]
CapitalDehradun [b]
Largest cityDehradun
Districts
Government
 • BodyGovernment of Uttarakhand
 • GovernorBaby Rani Maurya
 • Chief MinisterTrivendra Singh Rawat (BJP)
 • Chief JusticeRamesh Ranganathan
 • Speaker of the AssemblyPremchand Aggarwal (BJP)
 • Electoral constituencies
Area
 • Total53,483 km2 (20,650 sq mi)
Area rank19th
Highest elevation
7,816 m (25,643 ft)
Lowest elevation
187 m (614 ft)
Population
 • Total10,086,292
 • Rank21st
 • Density189/km2 (490/sq mi)
 • Density rank26th
 • Male
5,137,773
 • Female
4,948,519
Demonym(s)Uttarakhandi
GDP (nominal) (2018–19)
 • Total2.58 lakh crore (US$36 billion) (20th)
 • Per capita177,356 (US$2,500) (9th)
Languages
 • OfficialHindi[3]
 • Additional officialSanskrit[4][5]
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (IST)
ISO 3166 codeIN-UT
Vehicle registrationUK 01—XX
HDI (2015)Increase 0.662[6]
medium · (20th)
Literacy (2011)78.81% [7] (17th)
Sex ratio (2011)963 /1000 [7] (14th)
Websiteuk.gov.in
^a Uttarakhand was formed by the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2000 with the bifurcation of erstwhile Uttar Pradesh on 9 November 2000.
^b Dehradun is the interim capital of Uttarakhand. The town of Gairsain is envisaged as the state's new capital.
^c 70 seats are open for the direct election while 1 seat is reserved for the member of Anglo-Indian community.
Symbols of Uttarakhand[8]
EmblemDiamond Shield
LanguageHindi
Sanskrit
SongUttarakhand Devabhumi Matribhumi[9]
Musical InstrumentDhol[10]
AnimalAlpine Musk Deer
BirdHimalayan Monal
InsectWest Himalayan Common Peacock[11][12]
FlowerBrahma Kamal[13]
FruitKaphal[14][15]
TreeBurans
RiverGanga[16][17]
SportFootball[18]

Etymology

Uttarakhand's name is derived from the Sanskrit words uttara (उत्तर) meaning 'north', and khaṇḍa (खण्ड) meaning 'land', altogether simply meaning 'Northern Land'. The name finds mention in early Hindu scriptures as the combined region of "Kedarkhand" (present day Garhwal) and "Manaskhand" (present day Kumaon). Uttarakhand was also the ancient Puranic (पौराणिक) term for the central stretch of the Indian Himalayas.[24]

However, the region was given the name Uttaranchal by the Bharatiya Janata Party led central government and Uttar Pradesh state government when they started a new round of state reorganisation in 1998. Chosen for its allegedly less separatist connotations, the name change generated enormous controversy among many activists for a separate state who saw it as a political act.[25] The name Uttarakhand remained popular in the region, even while Uttaranchal was promulgated through official usage.

In August 2006, Union Cabinet of India assented to the demands of the Uttaranchal Legislative Assembly and leading members of the Uttarakhand statehood movement to rename Uttaranchal state as Uttarakhand. Legislation to that effect was passed by the Uttaranchal Legislative Assembly in October 2006,[26] and the Union Cabinet brought in the bill in the winter session of Parliament. The bill was passed by Parliament and signed into law by then President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam in December 2006, and since January 1, 2007 the state has been known as Uttarakhand.[27]

History

Jageshwar main
The historical temples at Jageshwar, preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India

Ancient rock paintings, rock shelters, paleolithic stone tools (hundreds of thousands of years old), and megaliths provide evidence that the mountains of the region have been inhabited since prehistoric times. There are also archaeological remains which show the existence of early Vedic (c. 1500 BCE) practices in the area.[28] The Pauravas, Kushanas, Kunindas, Guptas, Gurjara-Pratihara, Katyuris, Raikas, Palas, Chands, Parmars or Panwars, and the British have ruled Uttarakhand in turns.[24]

The region was originally settled by Kol people, an aboriginal people of the Austro-Asiatic physical type who were later joined by the Indo-Aryan Khasas tribe that arrived from the northwest by the Vedic period (1700–1100 BCE). At that time, present-day Uttarakhand also served as a habitat for Rishis and Sadhus. It is believed that the sage Vyasa scripted the Hindu epic Mahabharata in the state.[29] Among the first major dynasties of Garhwal and Kumaon were the Kunindas in the 2nd century BCE who practised an early form of Shaivism and traded salt with Western Tibet. It is evident from the Ashokan edict at Kalsi in Western Garhwal that Buddhism made inroads in this region. Folk shamanic practices deviating from Hindu orthodoxy also persisted here. However, Garhwal and Kumaon were restored to nominal Hindu rule due to the travails of Shankaracharya and the arrival of migrants from the plains.

Between the 4th and 14th centuries, the Katyuri dynasty dominated lands of varying extent from the Katyur (modern day Baijnath) valley in Kumaon. The historically significant temples at Jageshwar are believed to have been built by the Katyuris and later remodelled by the Chands. Other peoples of the Tibeto-Burman group known as Kirata are thought to have settled in the northern highlands as well as in pockets throughout the region, and are believed to be ancestors of the modern day Bhotiya, Raji, Buksa, and Tharu people.[30]

Flag of Tehri Garhwal
Princely flag of Kingdom of Garhwal

By the medieval period, the region was consolidated under the Garhwal Kingdom in the west and the Kumaon Kingdom in the east. During this period, learning and new forms of painting (the Pahari school of art) developed.[31] Modern-day Garhwal was likewise unified under the rule of Parmars who, along with many Brahmins and Rajputs, also arrived from the plains.[32] In 1791, the expanding Gurkha Empire of Nepal overran Almora, the seat of the Kumaon Kingdom. It was annexed to Kingdom of Nepal by Amar Singh Thapa. In 1803, the Garhwal Kingdom also fell to the Gurkhas. After the Anglo-Nepalese War, this region was ceded to the British as part of the Treaty of Sugauli. The Garhwal Kingdom was then re-established from a smaller region in Tehri.

United Provinces 1903
Uttarakhand as a part of the United Province, 1903

After India attained independence from the British, the Garhwal Kingdom was merged into the state of Uttar Pradesh, where Uttarakhand composed the Garhwal and Kumaon Divisions.[33] Until 1998, Uttarakhand was the name most commonly used to refer to the region, as various political groups, including the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (Uttarakhand Revolutionary Party), began agitating for separate statehood under its banner. Although the erstwhile hill kingdoms of Garhwal and Kumaon were traditional rivals the inseparable and complementary nature of their geography, economy, culture, language, and traditions created strong bonds between the two regions.[34] These bonds formed the basis of the new political identity of Uttarakhand, which gained significant momentum in 1994, when demand for separate statehood achieved almost unanimous acceptance among both the local populace and national political parties.[35]

The most notable incident during this period was the Rampur Tiraha firing case on the night of 1 October 1994, which led to a public uproar.[36] On 24 September 1998, the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly and Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council passed the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, which began the process of creating a new state.[37] Two years later the Parliament of India passed the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2000 and thus, on 9 November 2000, Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India.

माटू हमरू, पाणी हमरू, हमरा ही छन यी बौण भी... पितरों न लगाई बौण, हमुनही त बचौण भी
Soil ours, water ours, ours are these forests. Our forefathers raised them, it's we who must protect them.
Old Chipko Song (Garhwali language)[38]

Uttarakhand is also well known for the mass agitation of the 1970s that led to the formation of the Chipko environmental movement[39] and other social movements. Though primarily a livelihood movement rather than a forest conservation movement, it went on to become a rallying point for many future environmentalists, environmental protests, and movements the world over and created a precedent for non-violent protest.[40] It stirred up the existing civil society in India, which began to address the issues of tribal and marginalized people. So much so that, a quarter of a century later, India Today mentioned the people behind the "forest satyagraha" of the Chipko movement as amongst "100 people who shaped India".[41] One of Chipko's most salient features was the mass participation of female villagers.[42] Both female and male activists played pivotal roles in the movement. Gaura Devi was the main activist who started this movement other participants were Chandi Prasad Bhatt, Sunderlal Bahuguna, and Ghanshyam Raturi, the popular Chipko poet.[43]

Geography

Nanda devi
With the elevation of 7,816 metres (25,643 ft) above sea level, Nanda Devi is the highest mountain in Uttarakhand and the second-highest mountain in India, following Kangchenjunga in Sikkim.

Uttarakhand has a total area of 53,483 km2,[44] of which 86% is mountainous and 65% is covered by forest.[44] Most of the northern part of the state is covered by high Himalayan peaks and glaciers. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the expanding development of Indian roads, railways and other physical infrastructure was giving rise to concerns over indiscriminate logging, particularly in the Himalaya. Two of the most important rivers in Hinduism originate in the glaciers of Uttarakhand, the Ganges at Gangotri and the Yamuna at Yamunotri. They are fed by myriad lakes, glacial melts and streams.[45] These two along with Badrinath and Kedarnath form the Chota Char Dham, a holy pilgrimage for the Hindus.

The state hosts the Bengal tiger in Jim Corbett National Park, the oldest national park of the Indian subcontinent. The Valley of Flowers, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the upper expanses of Bhyundar Ganga near Joshimath in Gharwal region, is known for the variety and rarity of its flowers and plants.[46][47] One who raised this was Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, who visited the region. As a consequence, Lord Dalhousie issued the Indian Forest Charter in 1855, reversing the previous laissez-faire policy. The following Indian Forest Act of 1878 put Indian forestry on a solid scientific basis. A direct consequence was the founding of the Imperial Forest School at Dehradun by Dietrich Brandis in 1878. Renamed the 'Imperial Forest Research Institute' in 1906, it is now known as the Forest Research Institute.

The model “Forest Circles” around Dehradun, used for training, demonstration and scientific measurements, had a lasting positive influence on the forests and ecology of the region. The Himalayan ecosystem provides habitat for many animals (including bharal, snow leopards, leopards and tigers), plants, and rare herbs.

Uttarakhand lies on the southern slope of the Himalaya range, and the climate and vegetation vary greatly with elevation, from glaciers at the highest elevations to subtropical forests at the lower elevations. The highest elevations are covered by ice and bare rock. Below them, between 3,000 and 5,000 metres (9,800 and 16,400 ft) are the western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows. The temperate western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests grow just below the tree line. At 3,000 to 2,600 metres (9,800 to 8,500 ft) elevation they transition to the temperate western Himalayan broadleaf forests, which lie in a belt from 2,600 to 1,500 metres (8,500 to 4,900 ft) elevation. Below 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) elevation lie the Himalayan subtropical pine forests. The Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests and the drier Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands cover the lowlands along the Uttar Pradesh border in a belt locally known as Bhabar. These lowland forests have mostly been cleared for agriculture, but a few pockets remain.[48]

In June 2013 several days of extremely heavy rain caused devastating floods in the region, resulting in more than 5000 people missing and presumed dead. The flooding was referred to in the Indian media as a "Himalayan Tsunami".

Demographics

Population Growth 
CensusPop.
19512,946,000
19613,611,00022.6%
19714,493,00024.4%
19815,726,00027.4%
19917,051,00023.1%
20018,489,00020.4%
201110,086,29218.8%
Source: Census of India[49]


The native people of Uttarakhand are generally called Uttarakhandi and sometimes specifically either Garhwali or Kumaoni depending on their place of origin in either the Garhwal or Kumaon region. According to the 2011 Census of India, Uttarakhand has a population of 10,086,292 comprising 5,137,773 males and 4,948,519 females, with 69.77% of the population living in rural areas. The state is the 20th most populous state of the country having 0.83% of the population on 1.63% of the land. The population density of the state is 189 people per square kilometre having a 2001–2011 decadal growth rate of 18.81%. The gender ratio is 963 females per 1000 males.[50][51][52] The crude birth rate in the state is 18.6 with the total fertility rate being 2.3. The state has an infant mortality rate of 43, a maternal mortality rate of 188 and a crude death rate of 6.6.[53]

Ethnic groups

Uttarakhand has a multiethnic population spread across two geocultural regions: the Garhwal, and the Kumaon. A large portion of the population is Rajput (various clans of erstwhile landowning rulers and their descendants), including members of the native Garhwali, and Kumaoni as well as a number of immigrants. According to a 2007 study by Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Uttarakhand has the highest percentage of Brahmins of any state in India, with approximately 20% of the population being Brahmin.[54] 18.76% of the population belongs to the Scheduled Castes (an official term for the indigenous aboriginal lower castes in the traditional Caste system in India).[52] Scheduled Tribes such as the Tharu, Jaunsari, Buksa, Bhotiya and Raji constitute 2.89% of the population.[52]

Languages

Languages in Uttarakhand (2011)[55]

  Hindi (89.15%)
  Urdu (4.22%)
  Punjabi (2.61%)
  Bengali (1.50%)
  Nepali (1.05%)
  Maithili (0.54%)
  Others (0.93%)

Hindi belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages is the official language of Uttarakhand and is spoken by majority of the population (2011 Census of India figure includes Garhwali spoken by 23.03%, Kumaoni spoken by 19.94% and Jaunsari spoken by 1.35% of the population as variants of Hindi).[56] Sanskrit is given the status of second official language. Garhwali and Kumaoni are endangered languages listed by UNESCO.[4][5] Many Tibeto-Burman languages are also spoken in this region, including Jad, Rongpo, Darmiya, Byangsi, Chaudangsi, Raji and Rawat.[57]

Religion

Religion in Uttarakhand (2011)[58]

  Hinduism (82.97%)
  Islam (13.95%)
  Sikhism (2.34%)
  Christianity (0.37%)
  Buddhism (0.15%)
  Jainism (0.09%)
  Others or not religious (0.13%)

More than four-fifths of Uttarakhand's residents are Hindus.[28] Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, and Jains make up the remaining population with the Muslims being the largest minority.[28][52]

Government and politics

Following the Constitution of India, Uttarakhand, like all Indian states, has a parliamentary system of representative democracy for its government.

The Governor is the constitutional and formal head of the government and is appointed for a five-year term by the President of India on the advice of the Union government. The present Governor of Uttarakhand is Baby Rani Maurya.[59] The Chief Minister, who holds the real executive powers, is the head of the party or coalition garnering the majority in the state elections. The current Chief Minister of Uttarakhand is Trivendra Singh Rawat.[60] The unicameral Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly consists of has 71 members, known as Members of the Legislative Assembly or MLAs,[61] and special office bearers such as the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, elected by the members. Assembly meetings are presided over by the Speaker, or the Deputy Speaker in the Speaker's absence. The Uttarakhand Council of Ministers is appointed by the Governor of Uttarakhand on the advice of the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and reports to the Legislative Assembly. Auxiliary authorities that govern at a local level are known as gram panchayats in rural areas, municipalities in urban areas and municipal corporations in metro areas. All state and local government offices have a five-year term. The state also elects 5 members to Lok Sabha and 3 seats to Rajya Sabha of the Parliament of India.[62] The judiciary consists of the Uttarakhand High Court, located at Nainital, and a system of lower courts. The incumbent Chief Justice of Uttarakhand is Justice Ramesh Ranganathan.[63]

Politics in Uttarakhand is dominated by the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Since the formation of the state these two parties have ruled the state in turns. Following the hung mandate in the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly election, 2012, the Indian National Congress, having the maximum number of seats, formed a coalition government headed by Harish Rawat that collapsed on 27 March 2016, following the political turmoil as about nine MLAs of INC rebelled against the party and supported the opposition party BJP, causing Harish Rawat government to lose the majority in assembly. However, on 21 April 2016 the High Court of Uttarakhand quashed the President's Rule questioning its legality and maintained a status quo prior to 27 March 2016 when 9 rebel MLAs of INC voted against the Harish Rawat government in assembly on state's money appropriation bill. This has been seen as a big blow to central government which is expected to take the matter to the Supreme Court of India to challenge the verdict of High Court. On 22 April 2016 the Supreme Court of India stayed the order of High Court till 27 April 2016, thereby once again reviving the President's Rule. In later developments regarding this matter, the Supreme Court ordered a floor test to be held on 10 May with the rebels being barred from voting. On 11 May at the opening of sealed result of the floor test, under the supervision of Supreme Court, the Harish Rawat government was revived following the victory in floor test held in Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly.

Following the 2017 Legislative Assembly election, on 18 March 2017 Trivendra Singh Rawat sworn as the 8th Chief Minister of Uttarakhand for the 4th Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly (2017–22).

Sub-divisions

Kumaon Garhwal
Divisions and Districts of Uttarakhand

There are 13 districts in Uttarakhand which are grouped into two divisions, Kumaon and Garhwal. Four new districts named Didihat, Kotdwar Ranikhet, and Yamunotri were declared by then Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Ramesh Pokhriyal, on 15 August 2011 but yet to be officially formed.[64]

Divisions Districts
Kumaon Division Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Udham Singh Nagar
Garhwal Division Chamoli, Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri Garhwal (commonly known as Pauri), Rudraprayag, Tehri Garhwal (commonly known as Tehri), Uttarkashi

Each district is governed by a district collector or district magistrate. The districts are further divided into sub-divisions, which are governed by sub-divisional magistrates; sub-divisions comprise blocks containing panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities.

According to the 2011 census, Haridwar, Dehradun, and Udham Singh Nagar are the most populous districts, each of them having a population of over one million.[50]

Culture

Sumitra nandan pant museum, kausani
Sumitranandan Pant Museum, Kausani

Uttarakhand's diverse ethnicities have created a rich literary tradition in languages including Hindi, Garhwali, Kumaoni, Jaunsari, and Bhoti. Many of its traditional tales originated in the form of lyrical ballads and chanted by itinerant singers and are now considered classics of Hindi literature. Abodh Bandhu Bahuguna, Badri Datt Pandey, Ganga Prasad Vimal, Harikrishna Raturi, Mohan Upreti, Naima Khan Upreti, Prasoon Joshi, Shailesh Matiyani, Shekhar Joshi, Shivani, Shiv Prasad Dabral 'Charan', Taradutt Gairola, Tom Alter; Lalit Kala Akademi fellowRanbir Singh Bisht; Sangeet Natak Akademi awardeesB. M. Shah, Prem Matiyani and Urmil Kumar Thapliyal; Sahitya Akademi awardeesLeeladhar Jagudi, Manglesh Dabral, Manohar Shyam Joshi, Ramesh Chandra Shah, Ruskin Bond and Viren Dangwal; Jnanpith Awardee and Sahitya Akademi fellow Sumitranandan Pant are some major literary, artistic and theatre personalities from the state. Prominent philosophers, Indian independence activists and environmental activists Gaura Devi, Govind Ballabh Pant, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, Kalu Singh Mahara, Mukandi Lal, Shri Dev Suman, Sunderlal Bahuguna and Vandana Shiva are also from Uttarakhand.

The dances of the region are connected to life and human existence and exhibit myriad human emotions. Langvir Nritya is a dance form for males that resembles gymnastic movements. Barada Nati folk dance is another dance of Jaunsar-Bawar, which is practised during some religious festivals. Other well-known dances include Hurka Baul, Jhora-Chanchri, Chhapeli, Thadya, Jhumaila, Pandav, Chauphula, and Chholiya.[65] Music is an integral part of the Uttarakhandi culture. Popular types of folk songs include Mangal, Basanti, Khuder and Chhopati.[66] These folk songs are played on instruments including dhol, damau, turri, ransingha, dholki, daur, thali, bhankora, mandan and mashakbaja. "Bedu Pako Baro Masa" is a popular folk song of Uttarakhand with international fame and legendary status within the state. It serves as the cultural anthem of Uttarakhandi people worldwide.[67][68] Music is also used as a medium through which the gods are invoked. Jagar is a form of spirit worship in which the singer, or Jagariya, sings a ballad of the gods, with allusions to great epics, like Mahabharat and Ramayana, that describe the adventures and exploits of the god being invoked. Basanti Devi Bisht, Chander Singh Rahi, Girish Tiwari 'Girda', Gopal Babu Goswami, Heera Singh Rana, Narendra Singh Negi and Meena Rana are popular folk singers and musicians from the state, so is country music singer Bobby Cash.[69]

Architectural details of a Dharamshala, estb. 1822, Haridwar
Architectural details of a Dharmashala, established 1822, Haridwar
Abhisarika-nayika-mola-ram
Abhisarika Nayika, a painting by Mola Ram

Among the prominent local crafts is wood carving, which appears most frequently in the ornately decorated temples of Uttarakhand. Intricately carved designs of floral patterns, deities, and geometrical motifs also decorate the doors, windows, ceilings, and walls of village houses. Paintings and murals are used to decorate both homes and temples. Pahari painting is a form of painting that flourished in the region between the 17th and 19th century. Mola Ram started the Garhwal Branch of the Kangra school of painting. Guler State was known as the "cradle of Kangra paintings". Kumaoni art often is geometrical in nature, while Garhwali art is known for its closeness to nature. Other crafts of Uttarakhand include handcrafted gold jewellery, basketry from Garhwal, woollen shawls, scarves, and rugs. The latter are mainly produced by the Bhotiyas of northern Uttarakhand.

The primary food of Uttarakhand is vegetables with wheat being a staple, although non-vegetarian food is also served. A distinctive characteristic of Uttarakhand cuisine is the sparing use of tomatoes, milk, and milk based products. Coarse grain with high fibre content is very common in Uttarakhand due to the harsh terrain. Crops most commonly associated with Uttarakhand are Buckwheat (locally called Kotu or Kuttu) and the regional crops, Maduwa and Jhangora, particularly in the interior regions of Kumaon and Garhwal. Generally, either Desi Ghee or Mustard oil is used for the purpose of cooking food. Simple recipes are made interesting with the use of hash seeds Jakhiya as spice. Bal Mithai is a popular fudge-like sweet. Other popular dishes include Dubuk, Chains, Kap, Bhatiya, Phana, Paliyo, Chutkani and Sei. In sweets; Swal, Ghughut/Khajur, Arsa, Mishri, Gatta and Gulgulas are popular. A regional variation of Kadhi called Jhoi or Jholi is also popular.[70]

Bathing ghat on the Ganges during Kumbh Mela, 2010, Haridwar
Bathing ghat on the Ganges during Kumbh Mela, 2010, Haridwar

One of the major Hindu pilgrimages, Haridwar Kumbh Mela, takes place in Uttarakhand. Haridwar is one of the four places in India where this mela is organised. Haridwar most recently hosted the Purna Kumbh Mela from Makar Sankranti (14 January 2010) to Vaishakh Purnima Snan (28 April 2010). Hundreds of foreigners joined Indian pilgrims in the festival which is considered the largest religious gathering in the world.[71] Kumauni Holi, in forms including Baithki Holi, Khari Holi and Mahila Holi, all of which start from Vasant Panchami, are festivals and musical affairs that can last almost a month. Ganga Dashahara, Vasant Panchami, Makar Sankranti, Ghee Sankrant, Khatarua, Vat Savitri, and Phul Dei are other major festivals. In addition, various fairs like Kanwar Yatra, Kandali Festival, Ramman, Harela Mela, Kauthig, Nauchandi Mela, Giddi Mela, Uttarayani Mela and Nanda Devi Raj Jat Mela take place.

Economy

The Uttarakhand state is the second fastest growing state in India.[72] It's gross state domestic product (GSDP) (at constant prices) more than doubled from 24,786 crore in FY2005 to 60,898 crore in FY2012. The real GSDP grew at 13.7% (CAGR) during the FY2005–FY2012 period. The contribution of the service sector to the GSDP of Uttarakhand was just over 50% during FY 2012. Per capita income in Uttarakhand is 1,03,000 (FY 2013) which is higher than the national average of 74,920 (FY2013).[73][74] According to the Reserve Bank of India, the total foreign direct investment in the state from April 2000 to October 2009 amounted to US$46.7 million.[75]

Vannage du riz, Uttarakhand, India
A woman winnowing rice, an important food crop in Uttarakhand.

Like most of India, agriculture is one of the most significant sectors of the economy of Uttarakhand. Basmati rice, wheat, soybeans, groundnuts, coarse cereals, pulses, and oil seeds are the most widely grown crops. Fruits like apples, oranges, pears, peaches, litchis, and plums are widely grown and important to the large food processing industry. Agricultural export zones have been set up in the state for leechi, horticulture, herbs, medicinal plants, and basmati rice. During 2010, wheat production was 831 thousand tonnes and rice production was 610 thousand tonnes, while the main cash crop of the state, sugarcane, had a production of 5058 thousand tonnes. As 86% of the state consists of hills, the yield per hectare is not very high. 86% of all croplands are in the plains while the remaining is from the hills.[76]

Economy of Uttarakhand at a Glance[77]

figures in crores of Indian rupees

Economy at a Glance (FY-2012) In Indian rupees
GSDP (current) 95,201
Per capita income 1,03,000

Other key industries include tourism and hydropower, and there is prospective development in IT, ITES, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and automobile industries. The service sector of Uttarakhand mainly includes tourism, information technology, higher education, and banking.[76]

During 2005–2006, the state successfully developed three Integrated Industrial Estates (IIEs) at Haridwar, Pantnagar, and Sitarganj; Pharma City at Selaqui; Information Technology Park at Sahastradhara (Dehradun); and a growth centre at Sigaddi (Kotdwar). Also in 2006, 20 industrial sectors in public private partnership mode were developed in the state.[78]

Flora and fauna

Moschus chrysogaster
Alpine Musk Deer (Moschus chrysogaster)
Himalayan Monal, Male (28466143101)
Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus impejanus)
Davidraju Common peacock-shillong
West Himalayan Common Peacock (Papilio bianor polyctor)
Brahmakamal Kaluvinayak Chamoli Uttarakhand 2014-08-23
Brahma Kamal (Saussurea obvallata)
Kafal(blackberry) 2014-06-04 08-48
Kaphal (Myrica esculenta)
Rhododendron in full bloom! (8620051426)
Burans (Rhododendron arboreum)

Uttarakhand has a diversity of flora and fauna. It has a recorded forest area of 34,666 km2 which constitutes 65% of the total area of the state.[79] Uttarakhand is home to rare species of plants and animals, many of which are protected by sanctuaries and reserves. National parks in Uttarakhand include the Jim Corbett National Park (the oldest national park of India) at Ramnagar in Nainital District, and Valley of Flowers National Park and Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli District, which together are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A number of plant species in the valley are internationally threatened, including several that have not been recorded from elsewhere in Uttarakhand.[80] Rajaji National Park in Haridwar District and Govind Pashu Vihar National Park and Sanctuary and Gangotri National Park in Uttarkashi District are some other protected areas in the state.[81]

Leopards are found in areas which are abundant in hills but may also venture into the lowland jungles. Smaller felines include the jungle cat, fishing cat, and leopard cat. Other mammals include four kinds of deer (barking, sambar, hog and chital), sloth and Himalayan black bears, Indian gray mongooses, otters, yellow-throated martens, bharal, Indian pangolins, and langur and rhesus monkeys. In the summer, elephants can be seen in herds of several hundred. Marsh crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris), gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) and other reptiles are also found in the region. Local crocodiles were saved from extinction by captive breeding programs and subsequently re-released into the Ramganga river.[82] Several freshwater terrapins and turtles like the Indian sawback turtle (Kachuga tecta), brahminy river turtle (Hardella thurgii), and Ganges softshell turtle (Trionyx gangeticus) are found in the rivers. Butterflies and birds of the region include red Helen (Papilio helenus), the great eggfly (Hypolimnos bolina), common tiger (Danaus genutia), pale wanderer (Pareronia avatar avatar), jungle babbler, tawny-bellied babbler, great slaty woodpecker, red-breasted parakeet, orange-breasted green pigeon and chestnut-winged cuckoo.[83] In 2011, a rare migratory bird, the bean goose, was also seen in the Jim Corbett National Park.[84]

Evergreen oaks, rhododendrons, and conifers predominate in the hills. sal (Shorea robusta), silk cotton tree (Bombax ciliata), Dalbergia sissoo, Mallotus philippensis, Acacia catechu, Bauhinia racemosa, and Bauhinia variegata (camel's foot tree) are some other trees of the region. Albizia chinensis, the sweet sticky flowers of which are favoured by sloth bears, are also part of the region's flora.[83] A decade long study by Prof. Chandra Prakash Kala concluded that the Valley of Flowers is endowed with 520 species of higher plants (angiosperms, gymnosperms and pteridophytes), of these 498 are flowering plants. The park has many species of medicinal plants including Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Picrorhiza kurroa, Aconitum violaceum, Polygonatum multiflorum, Fritillaria roylei, and Podophyllum hexandrum.[85][86] In the summer season of 2016, a large portion of forests in Uttarakhand caught fires and rubbled to ashes during Uttarakhand forest fires incident which resulted in the damage of forest resources worth billions of rupees and death of 6 people with hundreds of wild animals died during fires.

Transport

Uttarakhand has 28,508 km of roads, of which 1,328 km are national highways and 1,543 km are state highways.[78] The State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC), which has been reorganised in Uttarakhand as the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation, is a major constituent of the transport system in the state. The Corporation began to work on 31 October 2003 and provides services on interstate and nationalised routes. As of 2012, approximately 1000 buses are being plied by the "Uttarakhand Transport Corporation" on 35 nationalised routes along with many other non-nationalised routes. There are also private transport operators operating approximately 3000 buses on non-nationalised routes along with a few interstate routes in Uttarakhand and the neighbouring state of U.P.[87] For travelling locally, the state, like most of the country, has auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws. In addition, remote towns and villages in the hills are connected to important road junctions and bus routes by a vast network of crowded share jeeps.[88]

The air transport network in the state is gradually improving. Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, is the busiest airport in the state with six daily flights to Delhi Airport. Pantnagar Airport, located in Pantnagar of the Kumaon region have 1 daily air service to delhi and return too . There government is planning to develop Naini Saini Airport in Pithoragarh,[89] Bharkot Airport in Chinyalisaur in Uttarkashi district and Gauchar Airport in Gauchar, Chamoli district. There are plans to launch helipad service in Pantnagar and Jolly Grant Airports and other important tourist destinations like Ghangaria and Hemkund Sahib.[90]

As over 86% of Uttarakhand's terrain consists of hills, railway services are very limited in the state and are largely confined to the plains. In 2011, the total length of railway tracks was about 345 km.[78] Rail, being the cheapest mode of transport, is most popular. The most important railway station in Kumaun Division of Uttarakhand is at Kathgodam, 35 kilometres away from Nainital. Kathgodam is the last terminus of the broad gauge line of North East Railways that connects Nainital with Delhi, Dehradun, and Howrah. Other notable railway stations are at Pantnagar, Lalkuan and Haldwani.

Dehradun railway station is a railhead of the Northern Railways.[91] Haridwar station is situated on the Delhi–Dehradun and Howrah–Dehradun railway lines. One of the main railheads of the Northern Railways, Haridwar Junction Railway Station is connected by broad gauge line. Roorkee comes under Northern Railway region of Indian Railways on the main PunjabMughal Sarai trunk route and is connected to major Indian cities. Other railheads are Rishikesh, Kotdwar and Ramnagar linked to Delhi by daily trains.

Tourism

Schematic Tourist Map of Uttarakhand
Tourist map

Uttarakhand has many tourist spots due to its location in the Himalayas. There are many ancient temples, forest reserves, national parks, hill stations, and mountain peaks that draw large number of tourists. There are 44 nationally protected monuments in the state.[92] Oak Grove School in the state is on the tentative list for World Heritage Sites.[93] Two of the most holy rivers in Hinduism the Ganges and Yamuna, originate in Uttarakhand.

Ali bugyal2
View of a Bugyal (meadow) in Uttarakhand
Hemkunt-003
Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib, an important pilgrimage site for Sikhs

Uttarakhand has long been called "Land of the Gods"[44] as the state has some of the holiest Hindu shrines, and for more than a thousand years, pilgrims have been visiting the region in the hopes of salvation and purification from sin. Gangotri and Yamunotri, the sources of the Ganges and Yamuna, dedicated to Ganga and Yamuna respectively, fall in the upper reaches of the state and together with Badrinath (dedicated to Vishnu) and Kedarnath (dedicated to Shiva) form the Chota Char Dham, one of Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious pilgrimage circuits. Haridwar, meaning "Gateway to the God", is a prime Hindu destination. Haridwar hosts the Haridwar Kumbh Mela every twelve years, in which millions of pilgrims take part from all parts of India and the world. Rishikesh near Haridwar is known as the preeminent yoga centre of India. The state has an abundance of temples and shrines, many dedicated to local deities or manifestations of Shiva and Durga, references to many of which can be found in Hindu scriptures and legends.[94] Uttarakhand is, however, a place of pilgrimage not only for Hindus. Piran Kaliyar Sharif near Roorkee is a pilgrimage site to Muslims, Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib, Gurdwara Nanakmatta Sahib and Gurdwara Reetha Sahib are pilgrimage centers for Sikhs. Tibetan Buddhism has also made its presence with the reconstruction of Mindrolling Monastery and its Buddha Stupa, described as the world's highest at Clement Town, Dehradun.[95][96]

Some of the most well-known hill stations in India are in Uttarakhand. Mussoorie, Nainital, Dhanaulti, Chakrata, Tehri, Lansdowne, Pauri, Sattal, Almora, Kausani, Bhimtal, and Ranikhet are some popular hill stations in Uttarakhand. Auli and Munsiari are well-known skiing resorts in the state.[97] The state has 12 National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries which cover 13.8 percent of the total area of the state.[98] They are located at different altitudes varying from 800 to 5400 metres. The oldest national park on the Indian sub-continent, Jim Corbett National Park, is a major tourist attraction.[81] The park has varied wildlife and Project Tiger run by the Government of India. Rajaji National Park is known for its elephants. In addition, the state boasts Valley of Flowers National Park and Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli District, which together are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vasudhara Falls, near Badrinath is a waterfall with a height of 122 metres (400 ft) set in a backdrop of snow-clad mountains.[99] The state has always been a destination for mountaineering, hiking, and rock climbing in India. A recent development in adventure tourism in the region has been whitewater rafting in Rishikesh. Due to its proximity to the Himalaya ranges, the place is full of hills and mountains and is suitable for trekking, climbing, skiing, camping, rock climbing, and paragliding.[100] Roopkund is a trekking site, known for the mysterious skeletons found in a lake, which was featured by National Geographic Channel in a documentary.[101] The trek to Roopkund passes through the meadows of Bugyal.

Education

On 30 September 2010 there were 15,331 primary schools with 1,040,139 students and 22,118 working teachers.[102][103][104] At the 2011 census the literacy rate of the state was 78.81% with 87.4% literacy for males and 70% literacy for females.[7] The language of instruction in the schools is either English or Hindi. There are mainly government-run, private unaided (no government help), and private aided schools in the state. The main school affiliations are CBSE, CISCE or UBSE, the state syllabus defined by the Department of Education of the Government of Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand is also home to a number of universities and degree colleges. Dehradun is known as school capital of India.

Sports

The high mountains and rivers of Uttarakhand attract many tourists and adventure seekers. It is also a favorite destination for adventure sports, such as paragliding, sky diving, rafting and bungee jumping.[105]

More recently, golf has also become popular with Ranikhet being a favorite destination.

The Uttarakhand Cricket Association is the governing body for cricket activities. The Uttarakhand cricket team represents Uttarakhand in Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy.

The Uttarakhand State Football Association is the governing body for association football. The Uttarakhand football team represents Uttarakhand in the Santosh Trophy and other leagues.

See also

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Further reading

  • Rivett-Carnac, J. H. (1879). Archaeological Notes On Ancient Sculpturings On Rocks In Kumaon, India. Calcutta : G.H. Rouse.
  • Upreti, Ganga Dutt (1894). Proverbs & folklore of Kumaon and Garhwal. Lodiana Mission Press.
  • Oakley, E. Sherman (1905). Holy Himalaya: The Religion, Traditions and Scenery of Himalayan Province (Kumaon and Garwhal). Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, London.
  • Raja Rudradeva of Kumaon; (Edited with English Translation by Haraprasada Shastri) (1910). Syanika Shastra: A Book on Hawking. Asiatic Society, Calcutta.
  • Handa, Umachand (2002). History of Uttaranchal. Indus Publishing. ISBN 81-7387-134-5.
  • Husain, Z. (1995). Uttarakhand Movement: The Politics of Identity and Frustration, A Psycho-Analytical Study of the Separate State Movement, 1815–1995. Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot. ISBN 81-85897-17-4
  • Sharma, D. (1989). Tibeto-Himalayan languages of Uttarakhand. Studies in Tibeto-Himalayan languages, 3. New Delhi, India: Mittal Publications. ISBN 81-7099-171-4
  • Phonia, Kedar Singh (1987). Uttarakhand: The Land of Jungles, Temples and Snows. New Delhi, India: Lancer Books.
  • Mukhopadhyaya, R. (1987). Uttarakhand Movement: A Sociological Analysis. Centre for Himalayan Studies special lecture, 8. Raja Rammohunpur, Distt. Darjeeling: University of North Bengal.
  • Thapliyal, Uma Prasad (2005). Uttaranchal: Historical and Cultural Perspectives. B. R. Pub. Corp., ISBN 81-7646-463-5.
  • Negi, Vijaypal Singh, Jawaharnagar, P.O. Agastyamuni, Distt. Rudraprayag, The Great Himalayas 1998,

External links

Government
General information
2013 North India floods

In June 2013, a multi-day cloudburst centered on the North Indian state of Uttarakhand caused devastating floods and landslides becoming the country's worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami. The reason the floods occurred was that the rainfall received was on a larger scale than the regular rainfall the state usually received . The debris blocked up the rivers, causing major overflow. The main day of the flood was June 16, 2013. Though some parts of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in India experienced the heavy rainfall, some regions of Western Nepal, and some parts of Western Tibet also experienced heavy rainfall, over 89% of the casualties occurred in Uttarakhand. As of 16 July 2013, according to figures provided by the Government of Uttarakhand, more than 5,700 people were "presumed dead." This total included 934 local residents.Destruction of bridges and roads left about 300,000 pilgrims and tourists trapped in the valleys leading to three of the four Hindu Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites. The Indian Air Force, the Indian Army, and paramilitary troops evacuated more than 110,000 people from the flood ravaged area.

Anil Baluni

Anil Baluni is an Indian politician and national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party. On 10 March 2018 he was nominated as candidate for the Rajya Sabha from Uttarakhand.

Chipko movement

The Chipko movement or Chipko Andolan was a forest conservation movement in India where people embraced the trees to prevent them from being cut down. It began in April 1973 in Reni village of Chamoli district, Uttarakhand and went on to become a rallying point for many future environmental movements all over the world.It created a precedent for starting of nonviolent protest in India, and its success meant that the world immediately took notice of this non-violent movement, which was to inspire in time many such eco-groups by helping to slow down the rapid deforestation, expose vested interests, increase ecological awareness, and demonstrate the viability of people power. Above all, it stirred up the existing civil society in India, which began to address the issues of tribal and marginalized people.The Chipko Andolan is a movement that practised methods of Satyagraha where both male and female activists from Uttarakhand played vital roles, including Gaura Devi, Suraksha Devi, Sudesha Devi, Bachni Devi and Chandi Prasad Bhatt.

Today, beyond the eco-socialism hue, it is being seen increasingly as an ecofeminism movement. Although many of its leaders were men, women were not only its backbone, but also its mainstay, because they were the ones most affected by the rampant deforestation, which led to a lack of firewood and fodder as well as water for drinking and irrigation. Over the years they also became primary stakeholders in a majority of the afforestation work that happened under the Chipko movement. In 1987, the Chipko movement was awarded the Right Livelihood Award.Chipko-type movements date back to 1730 AD when in Kartikey Kamboj village Prasanna Khamkar of Rajasthan, 363 Bishnois sacrificed their lives to save Khejri trees.

Dehradun

Dehradun (), also spelled Dehra Dun is the interim capital of Uttarakhand, a state in the northern part of India. Located in the Garhwal region, it lies 236 kilometres (147 mi) north of India's capital New Delhi and 168 kilometres (104 mi) from Chandigarh. It is one of the "Counter Magnets" of the National Capital Region (NCR) being developed as an alternative centre of growth to help ease the migration and population explosion in the Delhi metropolitan area and to establish a smart city at Dehradun. During the days of British Raj, the official name of the town was Dehra. At present, Gairsain, a hill-town between Garhwal and Kumaon regions and centrally located in Uttarakhand, is being developed as permanent capital of the state.

Dehradun is located in the Doon Valley on the foothills of the Himalayas nestled between the river Ganges on the east and the river Yamuna on the west. The city is famous for its picturesque landscape and slightly milder climate and provides a gateway to the surrounding region. It is well connected and in proximity to Himalayan tourist destinations such as Mussoorie, and Auli and the Hindu holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh along with the Himalayan pilgrimage circuit of Chota Char Dham.

Dehradun Municipal Corporation is locally known as Nagar Nigam Dehradun. Other urban entities involved in civic services and city governance and management include Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority (MDDA), Special Area Development Authority (SADA), Jal Sansthan, and Jal Nigam among others. Dehradun is also known for its Basmati rice and bakery products.

Economy of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $6 billion in current prices. Born out of partition of Uttar Pradesh, the new state of Uttarakhand produces about 8% of the output of the old Uttar Pradesh state.

The Uttarakhand state is the second fastest growing state in India. It's gross state domestic product (GSDP) (at constant prices) more than doubled from ₹24,786 crore in FY2005 to ₹60,898 crore in FY2012. The real GSDP grew at 13.7% (CAGR) during the FY2005–FY2012 period. The contribution of the service sector to the GSDP of Uttarakhand was just over 50% during FY 2012. Per capita income in Uttarakhand is ₹1,03,000 (FY 2013) which is higher than the national average of ₹74,920 (FY2013). According to the Reserve Bank of India, the total foreign direct investment in the state from April 2000 to October 2009 amounted to US$46.7 million.Like most of India, agriculture is one of the most significant sectors of the economy of Uttarakhand. Basmati rice, wheat, soybeans, groundnuts, coarse cereals, pulses, and oil seeds are the most widely grown crops. Fruits like apples, oranges, pears, peaches, litchis, and plums are widely grown and important to the large food processing industry. Agricultural export zones have been set up in the state for leechi, horticulture, herbs, medicinal plants, and basmati rice. During 2010, wheat production was 831 thousand tonnes and rice production was 610 thousand tonnes, while the main cash crop of the state, sugarcane, had a production of 5058 thousand tonnes. As 86% of the state consists of hills, the yield per hectare is not very high. 86% of all croplands are in the plains while the remaining is from the hills.Other key industries include tourism and hydropower, and there is prospective development in IT, ITES, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and automobile industries. The service sector of Uttarakhand mainly includes tourism, information technology, higher education, and banking.During 2005–2006, the state successfully developed three Integrated Industrial Estates (IIEs) at Haridwar, Pantnagar, and Sitarganj; Pharma City at Selaqui; Information Technology Park at Sahastradhara (Dehradun); and a growth centre at Siggadi (Kotdwar). Also in 2006, 20 industrial sectors in public private partnership mode were developed in the state.

Gangotri

Gangotri is a town and a Nagar Panchayat (municipality) in Uttarkashi district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is a Hindu pilgrim town on the banks of the river Bhagirathi and origin of River Ganges. It is on the Greater Himalayan Range, at a height of 3,100 metres (10,200 ft). According to popular Hindu legend, it was here that Goddess Ganga descended when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from the locks of his hair.

Hill station

A hill station is a town located at a higher elevation than the nearby plain or valley. The term was used mostly in colonial Asia, but also in Africa (albeit rarely), for towns founded by European colonial rulers as refuges from the summer heat, up where temperatures are cooler. In the Indian context, most hill stations are at an altitude of approximately 1,000 to 2,500 metres (3,300 to 8,200 ft); very few are outside this range.

Kedarnath Temple

Kēdārnāth Mandir (Kedarnath Temple) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is on the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini river in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand in India. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshaya Tritriya) to November (Kartik Purnima - the autumn full moon). During the winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Kedarnath, the 'Lord of Kedar Khand', the historical name of the region.The temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by a 18 kilometres (11 mi) uphill trek from Gaurikund. Pony and manchan service is available to reach the structure. According to Hindu legends, the temple was initially built by Pandavas, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest Hindu shrines of Shiva. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, expounded in Tevaram. Pandavas were supposed to have pleased Shiva by doing penance in Kedarnath. The temple is one of the four major sites in India's Chota Char Dham pilgrimage of Northern Himalayas. This temple is the highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. Kedarnath was the worst affected area during the 2013 flash floods in North India. The temple complex, surrounding areas and Kedarnath town suffered extensive damage, but the temple structure did not suffer any "major" damage, apart from a few cracks on one side of the four walls which was caused by the flowing debris from the higher mountains. A large rock among the debris acted as a barrier, protecting the temple from the flood. The surrounding premises and other buildings in market area were heavily damaged.

Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela or Kumbha Mela ( or ) is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred or holy river. Traditionally, four fairs are widely recognized as the Kumbh Melas: the Prayagraj Kumbh Mela, Haridwar Kumbh Mela, the Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha, and Ujjain Simhastha. These four fairs are held periodically at one of the following places by rotation: Prayagraj (known until 2018 as Allahabad), Haridwar, Nashik district (Nashik and Trimbak), and Ujjain. The main festival site is located on the banks of a river: the Ganges (Ganga) at Haridwar; the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna and the invisible Sarasvati at Prayagraj; the Godavari at Nashik; and the Shipra at Ujjain. Bathing in these rivers is thought to cleanse a person of all their sins.At any given place, the Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years. There is a difference of around 3 years between the Kumbh Melas at Haridwar and Nashik; the fairs at Nashik and Ujjain are celebrated in the same year or one year apart. The exact date is determined, following the Vikram Samvat calendar and the principles of Jyotisha, according to a combination of zodiac positions of the Jupiter, the Sun and the Moon. At Nashik and Ujjain, the Mela may be held while a planet is in Leo (Simha in Hindu astrology); in this case, it is also known as Simhastha. At Haridwar and Prayagraj, a Maha ("Great") Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years, with an Ardha ("Half") Kumbh Mela six years later. The priests at other places consider their local fairs to be Kumbh Melas; for example, the Mahamaham festival at Kumbakonam, held every 12 years, is described as a Kumbh Mela. Other places where fairs have been called Kumbh Mela include Kurukshetra and Sonepat.The exact age of the festival is uncertain. According to medieval Hinduism, Lord Vishnu spilled drops of Amrita (the drink of immortality) at four places, while transporting it in a kumbha (pot). These four places are identified as the present-day sites of the Kumbh Mela. The name "Kumbh Mela" literally means "kumbha fair". It is known as "Kumbh" in Hindi (due to schwa deletion); in Sanskrit and some other Indian languages; it is more often known by its original name "Kumbha".The festival is the largest peaceful gathering in the world, and considered as the "world's largest congregation of religious pilgrims". There is no precise method of ascertaining the number of pilgrims, and the estimates of the number of pilgrims bathing on the most auspicious day may vary. An estimated 120 million people visited Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013 in Prayagraj over a two-month period, including over 30 million on a single day, on 10 February 2013 (the day of Mauni Amavasya). It has been inscribed on the UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

List of Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand

The Chief Minister of the State of Uttarakhand, is the head of the Government of Uttarakhand. As per the Constitution of India, the Governor of Uttarakhand is the state's de jure head, but de facto executive authority rests with the chief minister. Following elections to the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly, the governor usually invites the party (or coalition) with a majority of seats to form the government. The governor appoints the chief minister, whose council of ministers are collectively responsible to the assembly. Given that he has the confidence of the assembly, the chief minister's term is for five years and is subject to no term limits.Uttarakhand was formed on November 9, 2000, when it was carved out from the himalayan districts of Uttar Pradesh. Eight people have served as the state's chief minister, across five assembly terms; five of those belong to the Bharatiya Janata Party including the current incumbent Trivendra Singh Rawat and the inaugural office holder Nityanand Swami, while the remaining three belong to the Indian National Congress.

List of towns in India by population

The entire work of this article is based on Census of India, 2011, conducted by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, under Ministry of Home Affairs (India), Government of India.

Nainital

Nainital (pronunciation ), also known as Naini Tal, is a popular hill station in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and headquarters of Nainital district in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas. Situated at an altitude of 2,084 metres (6,837 ft) above sea level, Nainital is set in a valley containing a mango-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains, of which the highest are Naina (2,615 m (8,579 ft)) on the north, Deopatha (2,438 m (7,999 ft)) on the west, and Ayarpatha (2,278 m (7,474 ft)) on the south. From the tops of the higher peaks, "magnificent views can be obtained of the vast plain to the south, or of the mass of tangled ridges lying north, bound by the great snowy range which forms the central axis of the Himalayas."

Neha Kakkar

Neha Kakkar (born 6 June 1988) is an Indian singer. She competed on season 2 of the television reality show Indian Idol in 2006 and was a judge on the tenth season of the same show i.e. Indian Idol 10. She also appeared in Comedy Circus Ke Taansen in 2014 on Sony TV. She had judged a singing reality show on Zee TV named Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs.In 2008, she launched her first album, Neha-The Rock Star, whose music was composed by Meet Bros. Her other work includes the songs "Sunny Sunny" from movie Yaariyan, "Manali Trance" from movie The Shaukeens, "Aao Raja" with singer Honey Singh from movie Gabbar is Back, "Dhating Naach" from movie Phata Poster Nikala Hero, "London Thumakda" from movie Queen, "Dilbar" from movie Satyameva Jayate, "Hanju" (Album) with singer Meiyang Chang, and "Patt Lainge" (Album) with singer Gippy Grewal.

Trivendra Singh Rawat

Trivendra Singh Rawat (born 20 December 1960) is an Indian politician and is the eighth and current Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.

Rawat was a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh from 1979 to 2002 and held the post of organizing secretary of the Uttarakhand region, and later the state, after its formation in 2000. He was elected from Doiwala in the State's first legislative assembly elections in 2002. He retained his seat in the 2007 elections and served as the State's Minister of Agriculture.

As a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he served as Jharkhand's in-charge and Uttarakhand cadre's president. Winning from Doiwala again in 2017, he was named the Chief Minister after his party won majority and formed the government.

Uttarakhand Kranti Dal

The Uttarakhand Kranti Dal or UKD (translation: Uttarakhand Revolutionary Party), is a regional political party in India. It bills itself as the only regional party of the Uttarakhand in contrast to the national parties that dominate the state's politics.

In the present Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly, elected in 2017, it does not have any member as compared with one member in the previous 2012, three members in 2007 and four members in 2002 assembly elections of the state.

Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly

The Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly, also known as the Uttarakhand Vidhan Sabha, is a unicameral governing and law making body of Uttarakhand, one of the 29 States in India, and is situated at Dehradun, the interim state capital of Uttarakhand, with 71 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).

Following the Bharatiya Janta Party's historic win in 2017 election, the current Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and Leader of the House is Trivendra Singh Rawat. The Speaker of the Assembly is Premchand Aggarwal. Baby Rani Maurya is the current Governor of Uttarakhand. From 27 March 2016 to 12 May 2016, Uttarakhand was under President's Rule.

Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee

Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee (Uttarakhand PCC) is the Pradesh Congress Committee (state wing) of the Indian National Congress (INC), serving in the state of Uttarakhand.Incumbent president of the Uttarakhand PCC is Pritam Singh.

Uttarakhand Super League

The Uttarakhand Super League (USL) is a semi-professional football league, sanctioned by both the All India Football Federation and the Uttarakhand State Football Association, that represents the sport in the state of Uttarakhand. Founded in 2016, the league is organized by the Uttarakhand Adventure Sports Pvt Limited with the goal of promoting football throughout the state. The league began in July 2016 with fourteen teams and is based on the Indian Super League, the franchise based football league for India nationally.

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