The nascent state of Uttaranchal was formed after slicing the mountainous and foothill regions from the state of Uttar Pradesh. It was added to the Indian Union as its 27th state on November 9, 2000. Administratively, the vibrant city of Dehradun situated on the foothills of himalayas is the capital of the Uttaranchal and the districts total to thirteen, seven in the Garhwal (north-west) and six in the Kumaon (south-east) regions. With 13.42% of its total 53,485 sq km area protected and around 65% under forest cover, the Uttaranchal is a haven for nature lovers and be it Garhwal or Kumaon, you are never away from scenic valleys with breathtaking views, gushing rivers and waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, thick alpine forests, chilly scented breeze and of course the fascinating wildlife.
Apart from the natural bounty, it is the rich and profound culture of the Uttaranchal state that invites visitors from all over India and abroad. The state has an outstanding score of temples and is popularly known as “Dev Bhoomi” – The Land of Gods. Nestled in the high Himalayas are the four most holy hindu pilgrimages of India, Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, collectively known as “Char Dhams”. Every year since centuries, with the approach of summers, when the snow thaws down into the holy rivers and extreme winters give way to pleasant chill, more than 1.5 crore (15 million) devouts throng the state across its length and breadth in their quest of the divine and to pay homage to their revered Gods and Goddesses. Ethnically, the very existence of these gods and goddesses is interwoven in the culture and traditions of the folks of Uttaranchal as attested by their folklore, folk songs and dances. Out of 8.5 million people residing in the state, more than 85 per cent are Hindu. Coupled to that is the fact that in the total tourism revenue earned by the state, the share of religious tourism far out-weighs that of tourism for nature, health and leisure.