Uttarkashi is a small town in the lapse of Himalaya surrounded by lush green vegetation and mesmerizing flora and fauna. It is a whimsical little district in Uttarakhand sharing borders with Himanchal Pradesh and Tibet in the north. It is far from the hum-drum of the metro cities and is largely unexplored by the masses. Beauty is so intrinsically embedded in everything Uttarkashi stands for the mighty Himalaya, the holy Ganges, the spiritual cult, the scenic landscape, the freshness of meadows and moreover the innocence of the people. Every season here has its own charm and hence the town could be visited anytime of the year. Summers are pleasant with a soothing temperature. The lush green greenery and the blue skies add to the calmness of the weather. Winters are heavenly. White snowflakes cover the area and make it ideal for adventurous activities like skiing. The monsoon rain is said to transform everything. These lines aptly describe Uttarkashi soothing weather “The sun here settles amidst the tree on the rooftop, looking for a home, when snow slowly rests under the tree. The warmth, the coldness and the compassion all enclosed in the same place.”
Uttarkashi that literally suggest “ Kashi on the north” holds a similar importance in the Hindu religious circuit like Kashi. The town houses the Vishwanath temple, two dhams of the four char dhams are in the town namely Gangotri and Yamunotri . The town is quite popular amongst the adventure enthusiasts as it offers several opportunities for trekking, mountaineering and adventure sports. It has a large area under the forest cover which include coniferous trees such as fir,pine,deodar, medicinal shrubs and herbs.The town has a lot to offer to the tourist who come here. Some of the tourist destination of the Uttarkashi include-
It is often regarded to be the most beautiful meadow in India. Situated at an elevation of 3048 meters, the meadows stretch out far and wide and surrounding it are towering snow peaks. Its trek is ideal for the visitors for experiencing the beautiful alpine meadows and the mammoth Himalaya.
The temple is believed to have been built by the great sage Parashuram andis dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has an idol of Lord Shiva in all his glory is seated in deep meditation .
The trek to Dodital lake is near perfect example of true grit and determination. The lake perched at a height of 3307 feet offers scenic beauty of meadows flanked by towering alpines, a crystal-clear lake which abounds trouts and salmon.
Nehru institute of mountaineering (NIM)
It is India’s premier mountaineering institute established in 1965, in memory of India’s first prime minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, a true mountain lover. The experience of just visiting the institute located amidst the towering alpines is exhilarating. The environs of the institute have an air accompanied naturally with the sense of conquering the seemingly impossible task.
It is one of the four sacred Dhams in Uttarakhand,the other three being Yamunotri, Kedarnath ,Badrinath . This temple is dedicated to the Goddess Ganga and it holds a major significance for Hindus and the holy river Ganga is said to originate from here. Thousands of devotees from different parts of the country and even from abroad visit the glorious temple every year to seek the blessing from goddess Ganga. It is situated at an elevation of 3000 meters above sea level amidst lush green hills and the Ganges flowing by its side.
It is the source of river Yamuna one of the four temples in the Char Dham circuit. It is located at a height of 3293 meters above the sea level and is quite close to the Indo- Chinese border. The temple here is said to have been constructed by the king of Tehri 1839.
Harshil , still lesser known to masses , is a perfect gateway for those in quest of peace and solitude. Nestled amid Himalaya and dense cover of pine and deodar with river Bhagirathi gurgling across the area. Harshil is a complete package for vacation makers. This village elevated at a height of 2620 km is adorned with apple orchard. The area encompasses the nature at its best and has a huge potential for developing into a tourist hotspot.
Situated quite close to Harshil this spot is known for its hot water spring. A beautiful place with picturesque view attracts tourist in large number every year. The sulphurated water of the spring is said to cure many skin ailments.
Nachiketa Tal, a lake that is situated at an altitude of 2453 meters above sea level finds its way amidst the thick pine and oak forest. The lake is believed to have been created by Saint Uddalak for his son Nachiketa, who founded the entry to hell and the meaning of life and death. The path to the lake is strewn heavily with leaves making it look like autumn had been vacationing here. There is a temple dedicated to Nag Devatas and this temple sees many devotees during Nag Panchami.
Fairs and festivals
They are an essential part of human life and reflect the culture of people settled there. If one happens to visit the town during January, one can witness the fair called ‘Barahat ka thola’ held every year in Makar Sakranti which usually falls in January. The fair sees a crowd of large number of people from the length and breadth of the town.
Garhwali language and cuisine
The tourist can try the delicious Garhwali cuisine like the famous kaufali, jhol, baadi, kandaali saag at any local restaurant and learn about the beautiful Garhwali language of the hilly terrain.
Uttarkashi in itself offers a complete package to the tourist who venture here for quenching their long travel thirst. Travelling is an activity which freshen up our mind and brings before us a whole new world to explore. Rig veda ,the most ancient of the scripture says, ‘There is no happiness for him who does not travel. The fortune of him who is sitting sits, it rise when he rises, it sleeps when he sleeps, it moves when he moves. Therefore, wander’. The uniqueness of the place lies in the wide variety of things the town offers to its visitorsranging from the spiritual peace , nature wilderness , thrilling adventure, enthralling Garhwali culture and cuisine and moreover the warm hospitability of the local people which leaves a lasting impression on the people.
Author: Samiksha Uniyal, Uttarkashi