Uttarakhand, 27th state of India, is located at the northern part of India. Formerly, Uttarakhand was a part of Uttar Pradesh and it was known as Uttaranchal. Uttarkhand being separated from Uttar Pradesh was formed as a new state in 2000.
Due to the presence of numerous Hindu temples, and pilgrimage centres, Uttarakhand is often called Devbhoomi. Uttarakhand is also famous for the natural beauty of the Himalayas, the Terai and the Bhavar. Uttarakhand is surrounded by Tibet Autonomous Region at the north, Nepal at the east, Uttar Pradesh at the south and Himachal Pradesh at the west and north-west.
The State has 13 districts, which are divided into two divisions - Garhwal and Kumaon. Dehradun, the largest of Uttarakhand, is the winter capital and Gairsain is the summer capital of the state.
According to ancient rock paintings, paleolithic stone tools, since prehistoric times, people used to inhabit at the mountains of the region. Archeological evidence proves that there were early Vedic practices in the area. The Nandas, the Mauryas, the Kushanas, the Guptas and many other dynasties ruled Uttarakhand. Even the British were not the exception.
The process of formation of Uttar Pradesh started during the reign of Nawab Asaf-ud- Daullah in 1775.
After independence, Uttarkhand, part of Uttar Pradesh, was composed of Garhwal and Kumaon divisions. Political group Uttarkhand Kranti dal started agitating for separate statehood.
Garhwal and Kumaon were rivals but their geography, culture; economy formed strong bonds between them. This strong bond was the basis of new political identity of Uttarkhand.
Also Read : Uttarakhand Travel Guide
Uttarakhand covers a total area of 53,483 sq.km. Most of which is mountainous (86%) and the rest (65%) is forests. Uttarakhand is located at the southern slope of the Himalayan range. The climate varies with elevation from glaciers at the top to subtropical forests at the lower altitude.
Therefore, the northern part of Himalayan has a typical Himalayan climate.
You will find a subtropical climate in the southern region (average summer temperature about 30 degrees Celcius and average winter temperature about 18 degrees Celcius).
While Middle Himalayas experience a warm temperate climate, the higher altitude of the Middle Himalayas experience cool temperate climate.
A cold alpine climate prevails at a higher elevation of the Himalayas, where winters are cruel and summers are cool.
The temperature falls below the freezing point and the area is covered with snow above 4800 meters.
Uttarakhand experiences traditional culture, which is characterized by moral values, traditional ethics, rich mythology and simplicity of nature. Uttarakhand is home to mainly Kumaoni and Garhawli inhabitants.
Besides, ethnic groups like Tharus, Bhotias, Rajis and Bokshas live at Uttarakhand. Women in Uttarakhand wear Sarong generally and on special occasions Rangwali pichora and ghagra Choli.
At Uttarakhand, foods are mainly cooked over burning wood and charcoal. It adds extra nutritional qualities to food. The scrumptious food of Uttarakhand includes kafuli, bhang ki chutney, Garhwal ka Fannah, Phaanu, Baadi, chainsoo, kumaoni raita etc. These delicious dishes attract tourists to visit the land if natural beauty, Uttarakhand.
Uttarakhand experiences vivid celebrations and performs a variety of rituals throughout the year. The deep-rooted connection with nature and the rich mythology inspire the people of Uttarakhand to indulge in celebrations. Though the fairs and celebrations are culturally rich, they are simple.
Kumaoni and Gawhawli are the main spoken languages while people also speak in hindi.
Uttarakhand is a secular state, where you will find Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists. The majority of the people of Uttarkhand is Hindus. 2011 census recorded that 82.97% of the total population of Uttarakhand is Hindus while 13.95% are Muslims.
There are major numbers of people belonging to other religions like Sikhs (2,34%), Christians (0.37%), Buddhists (-0.15%) and Jainism (0.09%).
Uttarakhand has many artisans, who are indulged in manufacturing a variety of art and crafts. Rural people practise woodwork. Garhwal school of paintings, murals like Aipan are significant art forms, which show the skills of the natives. The backward community practices the Ringaal handicraft, which is quite appreciable.
Nainital market is full of candle making art. The Rambaan handicraft, woollen knitted wear and embroidered cushion covers, bedsheets etc. reflect the rich art and craft of this state.
Uttarakhand ranks 17th position when it comes to literacy. 2011 census recorded that Uttarakhand has 79.63% literacy rate of which the male literacy rate is 88.33% and the female literacy rate is 70.70%.
The lifestyle in Uttarkhand is simple but heterogeneous. You will find here both rural and urban lives. The urban life is featured by top notch schools, shopping areas, hotels and restaurants. The urban area offers better job opportunities.
People in the urban areas like Nainital, Haridwar, Dehradun try out new technology, construct better building, make social reforms. They entertain themselves by watching TV, cinemas, by going to shopping malls etc.
Rural people are engaged in agricultural works. They collect woods from forests, sell handicrafts and organic products and thus live their livelihood. Rural people spend their leisure time by indulging themselves in traditional art and craft, in performing folk dance and in organizing fairs.
Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Uttarkhand. Besides, tourism and hydropower industries also are the sources of income. Other industries include IT, ITES, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and automobile industries.
Cereals like Basmati rice, soybeans, wheat, groundnuts, oil seeds and pulses are grown by farmers.
Fruits, which bring a large amount of revenue, are apples, oranges, litchis, pears, and peaches.