The Northern Land of Gods
Uttarakhand, is a land overlooked by tourists and natives alike. Uttarakhand is also a land of history, a land of turmoil, a land of culture, as well as a land of boundless scenic beauty. Here is a list of reasons why Uttarakhand is a land worth a visit! Sceneries and History Galore If there’s one thing that Uttarakhand will never go short of, it’s the gorgeous scenery. Sites like Chaukori are known for their photography fodder. Nainital is an unavoidable part of Uttarakhand that provides exercise for the body as well as the eye, with so many sights bombarding you, forests to forage through, and peaks to climb. The state overlooks the famous Himalayas, as seen in Kausani, whose sunrises and sunsets are curtained by the Nanda Devi and Trishul Parbat peaks. Kausani is also home to the ancient Baijnath temple. The Baijnath temple is actually a cluster of 18 temples, reflecting onto the waters of the Gomati river. This site supposedly consists of some of the only few temples in the world that depict the Goddess Parvati alongside her husband Shiva. It is a popular pilgrimage site. Lohaghat is a place haunted by folklore formulated about the Dr Morris Hospital found atop Mount Abbott. The area has all the makings of a ghostly retelling – a lonely hospital, a neglected church, and a graveyard to top it all off. Tourists are riddled with curiosity as they are told tales of the area by locals. Bhubhneshwar, Uttarakhand holds one of the most unique experiences Uttarakhand has to offer, namely, a limestone cave temple known as Patal Bhuvaneshwar. This cave is one from the legends, specifically the legend of Nala and Damayanti. Long story short, the cave is said to hold 33 demigods, including Lord Shiva. Visiting the caves involves moving 90 ft downwards, which is a rarity in a land with no shortage of mountain ranges! A Simplistic Yet Intriguing Culture Uttarakhand’s ethos and culture are driven by age-old moral values and tradition. A rich history divides Uttarakhand’s people into Kumaoni (people from the Kumaon region) and Gharwali (people from the Gharwali region). Apart from these two, there also exist various ethnic groups such as Rajis, Tharus, Bokshas, Bonsaries, and Bhotias. Hailing from the northern parts of India, they are of Indo-Aryan descent. The deep cultural history of Uttarakhand is celebrated and expressed by its people in simple, heartwarming ways. The people welcome every season, or agricultural era by performing folk songs together. These festivities also include the people clothing themselves in the traditional Ghagra Cholis and gold jewelry. They worship nature, and pray for good harvests, as people all over the country do. Handmade arts and crafts are a common part of the state, with woodwork contributing a significant part of the handicraft production sphere. Uttarakhand is also the originator of Ringaal handicrafts, which are capable of being an alternative to harmful plastic, as these handicrafts are made out of bamboo. They are quite flexible, and include containers, mats, winnows, and many more multipurpose objects. Uttarakhand is a proud home to many dance forms, including Bhotiya, Barada Nati, Choliya, and Chancheri dances. These dance forms have generally been passed down through generations, and it is noted that not a single step nor form has been changed over the hundreds of years. These dances are accompanied by stories that make them special to each region. In the case of the popular Bhotiya dance, the folklore of the Bhotiya tribe states that the souls of those who pass away are trapped in the bodies of goats and sheep. So, the Bhotiya dance is performed to liberate these souls, and provide them with eternal peace. Uttarakhand culture is all about celebrating every part of your life, no matter how small or simple. Language and People The people of Uttarakhand speak Hindi, which is typical of the northern states of India. Some of them also speak a rather popular variation of Hindi, known as Hindustani, which is a mix of Hindi and Urdu. A lot of the people work in the agriculture sector. Many work in the forests, as well as in animal husbandry, typical again, of any Indian state. Scrumptious Food Uttarakhand offers a multitude of dishes that seem as simple as any gravy you can find all over the country, but each dish provides a twist unique to Uttarakhand. Garwhal ka Fannah is a dish that is inescapable throughout the restaurants of Mussoorie and all of Uttarakhand alike. It is essentially a dal, but how it is seasoned will leave you smacking your lips. Another favourite of the Garhwal region, Phaanu is a dish that is relatively complicated to create, as it involves making a mix of lentils and soaking it overnight. A lot of delicacies of Uttarakhand can also be considered nutritious in addition to theirits amazing taste. An example of this is Baadi, a tangy, aromatic specialty, is one filled to the brim with Vitamin A and Vitamin B12. One of the most popular dishes, Kafuli, is simply made of spinach and fenugreek in an iron kadai. It is accompanied by rice, a health staple served throughout the country. Like most things in Uttarakhand, its food also basks in its simple yet unique nature. With its beauty found in its nature, and its warmth found in its people and its culture, despite its generally cold climate, Uttarakhand is a place that draws you in with its familiarity, only for it to be better and more different than you ever expected. In its candor, you can find a unique nature. It gives a feeling similar to going back home.