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5 must-visit destinations in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is one of the most beautiful northern states of India located on the southern slope of the Himalayan range.

Mighty Himalayan peaks and glaciers are on its north where it borders Tibet. Nepal is on its east, Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is on south and Himachal Pradesh lies on its west and northwest. 65% of its area is covered by dense forests that are home to Royal Bengal tiger, leopards and many other endangered animal and plant species. The glaciers of two of the most important rivers—Ganga and Yamuna—are located here.

It has something to offer to every kind of traveller. For wildlife lovers, Jim Corbett National Park—the oldest national park of the Indian subcontinent is a must visit. Many rare Himalayan birds can also be spotted here besides Pangot and Sattal. For adventure seekers there are some of India's best trekking trails like Valley Of Flowers, Roopkund, and Chopta-Chandrashila. It also provides immense opportunities for adventure sports, such as skiing at Auli and white waterrafting at Shivpuri. Popularly known as the 'Land of Gods', it is home to numerous holy places like Gangotri, Yamnotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Rishkesh and Haridwar. Therefore, thousands of pilgrims throng the state every year. Amazing hill stations like Chakrata, Mukteshwar, Dhanaultiand Munsiyari make Uttarakhand a sought after tourist destination for leisure trips

Here's a list of destinations in Uttarakhand,Uttaranchal that every nature lover would love to visit.

1. Chakrata

Having breakfast with the view of snow-covered Himalayan peaks on a lazy morning while soft rays of winter sun embrace your body and soul while cool breeze kisses you is something city people always crave for. Chakrata located at a distance of 330 km from Delhi, is a tiny hamlet which is a perfect place to do so. There are two routes to drive from Delhi to Chakrata, one is via Panipat and Kurukshetra and the second one is via Loni and Saharanpur, which supposedly is more beautiful and has less traffic.

Chakrata is a small cantonment town in Dehradun district resting at an elevation of about 7500 ft. The town gets a magnificent view of the snow covered Himalayas and is covered in deodar, Himalayan oak and rhododendron forest. Many day trips to places like Deoban, Koti, Kanasar can be done with Chakrata as base. There are some easy treks also around Chakrata that your hotel guys can arrange for you. There are not many hotels in the area so make sure to book your accommodation in advance. Chakrata is a year round destination; the winter season is perfect to experience snow, greenery is at its best during the monsoon season and the summer season too is quite pleasant.

2. Auli

Auli is one of the most beautiful places of Uttarakhand. Bordered by snow-covered Himalayan peaks, Auli is enveloped in dense golden oak and pine forest with green meadows and slopes ranging from a height of 2519 m to 3049 m. It is considered to be a world-class spot for skiing. GMVN winter resort here provides skiing facility, besides ski training for aspirants. Almost from everywhere in Auli, you can enjoy stunning views of the lofty mountain ranges—Nanda Devi, Mana Paravat and Kamat.

The golden rays of sun on the snow-laden peaks fill the atmosphere with a divine glow. The 3rd highest peak of the world—Nanda Devi gleams like the crown of the region. There is an open cable-car to go up to the spot where skiing is done. Even if you do not want to ski, you have plenty of things to do. Climb up the slopes, play with snow, ride a sledge and who knows you might feel like trying skiing too. The best time to visit Auli is in between December and March.

3. Corbett

Spread across an area of 520.8 sq km, Jim Corbett National Park is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand. It is the oldest national park, and is named after Jim Corbett who was the main person behind this establishment. The park is divided in 5 zones—Bijrani, Jhirna, Durgadevi, Dhikala, Sitavani—and is inhabited by royal Bengal tiger, leopard, jungle cat, barking deer, hog deer, cheetal, sloth bears, otters, Himalayan goral, Indian pangolins, langur and many other wild animals. Many rare birds can also be spotted in the region.

Gorgeous Corbett National Park is one of the favourite destinations equally for wildlife lovers and weekenders. It is just 235 km away from capital city and can be reached in couple of hours. It features splendid landscapes and offers a good amalgam of hills, rivers, forests, marshlands and grasslands. The park is open from the months of November through June. The park is kept closed in the monsoon season as the roads inside the park get washed away due to rain. After the monsoon season, repair work starts and ends only by November.

4. Tehri Dam

beautiful uphill drive through the hills covered in pines and small villages will take you to this dam. It is built on the Bhagirathi River in Uttarakhand and is the tallest dam in India. It is counted amongst 5 highest dams in the world, with 855 ft high rock and earth-fill embankment that makes it an engineering marvel. Its length is 1886 ft, crest width is 66 ft and base width is 3701 ft and generates 2400 MW of power. There is a viewpoint near the Bhagirathipuram bus stop from where you can have a majestic view of the entire dam.

During the construction of the Tehri Dam, a huge water body was created. The tourism department has developed this 44 sq km artificial lake, as a tourist spot with arrangements of various water sports like jet-ski, kayaking, canoeing, boating, diving, snorkelling etc on the lake. You can also visit the botanical garden, located at New Tehri, that features a range of beautiful flowers.

5. Khirsu

It is a quiet hill station of Uttarakhand located at an altitude of 1700 m, around 330 km away from Delhi. If you are driving from Delhi follow this route: Rishikesh-Devprayag-Srinagar-Khirsu. The drive from Srinagar to Khirsu is beautiful; meandering roads run through the hills and offer a fascinating view of the mountains and deep valleys. At some stretches it passes through denseforest and if you are lucky enough you might see some wild animals.

The only sound you hear amid thick oak and deodar forests and apple orchards is chirping of birds. There are small treks that can be done from here to get the amazing views of some of the Himalayan peaks especially Trisul and Chaukhamba during sunrise and sunset. Do visit the ancient temple dedicated to Ghandiyal Devi as well. There are government as well as private forest camps and rest houses where you can stay and enjoy the serenity of the place. It can be visited throughout the year.



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Sources - happytrips.com